James Hamill

1995 QEST Scholar - Beekeeping

James is a full time professional beekeeper. He comes from three generations of beekeepers and was taught the craft from the age of 5 by his grandfather and father. His grandmother showed him ways to use the beeswax and honey to make ointments, lip balms and candles. In 1992 he developed the UK’s first high street honey shop, ‘The Hive Honey Shop’, as well as running a successful online honey retail business.  He now supplies many trade clients, hotels, spas, restaurants, pubs and health food shops with his array of hand made honey goods.

Images by Asia Werbel for the John Smedley 235 campaign.

As a boy I was fascinated by these tiny insects that made a perfect sweet food from flowers. I would sit and watch honeybees for hours coming and going about their business. My life long passion working with honeybees started there. I currently work my 100 beehives, gathering the golden nectar in the true traditional ways of my ancestors. I am privileged to be able to create a food from bee to jar without interruption. Completely traceable and handled with care.

I was one of the first scholars to be awarded a scholarship for beekeeping by QEST. Her Majesty purchased honey from me and I was later told wherever she went so did my honey. That is a great thing indeed!