Rooftop beehives at Fortnum, central London.

The Carniolan bees – noted for their sweet nature – were first housed in Shropshire, where they produced the first batch of Fortnum’s Bees’ Honey in 2006.   Now installed in their new residences on the roof of 181 Piccadilly, they fly high above Mayfair, visiting the grounds, gardens and squares of central London. See beecams.

The bees are supplied by and hives managed by Steve Benbow of the London Honey Company. Steve believes you can get away with putting hives in an urban setting practically anywhere.      Steve’s job is to nurture a hard working, placid bee that will fulfil a 500-jar a year quota, but won’t plague the patrons of this exclusive store.

Each hive currently contains 4000 Carnolian bees from the Italian Alps. In this first season on the roof – they will produce 200-300 jars of Fortnum’s London honey. Each of the 4 hives is an individual design painted in Fortnum’s famous eau de nile paint fronted by a triumphal arch styled in Roman, Gothick, Chinese or Muhal.

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Europe. More excellent photos here.

The honey goes on sale about now at around £10 a jar!

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7 Responses to Rooftop beehives at Fortnum, central London.

  1. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    My first thought when we inherited the farm was who to contact about getting some bee hives. Unfortunately, the reply to my first thought was that my wife has a phobia about the, to me, great insects, so around here they’re on their own. Not that THEY seem to mind, but I do miss the free honey 😦

    the Grit

  2. earthpal says:

    I love honey. It is so good for so many things. It’s a natural, powerful and very under-rated food substance that also happens to taste delicious. Thank goodness for bees and for bee-keepers.

  3. matt says:

    Bees are great. I love them! I really wish we could put a couple of hives on the school roof garden but no doubt bloody H&S would put a stop to that idea.

    Check this out in Bangladesh.

  4. matt says:

    Bees can still operate in the winter, especially in a city like London which is warmer than the surrounding countryside but some bees will die off and no doubt the hive will be re-stocked before spring.

  5. Michael says:

    Some of the fondest memories of my early teen years were my beekeeping activities. I had four hives, one of them with a glass side which was pressed up against the garage window and I would spend hours watching them. I had a “smoker” a steam-heated knife, for cttung to tops off the sealed honey-comb),a honey extractor (hand-cranked). The whole experience was magical really.
    The neighbours hated them.

  6. matt says:

    Lucky you, sounds great. Just brought back some honey from a local farm in London today; delicious!!

  7. Jane says:

    I’ve just tried some of F&M honey and its so lovely and sweet. The flavour is very nice. I think F&M has a winner on its hands.

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