Whilst the Isle of Man is gearing up to welcome international visitors to the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association Conference later this year – 20 to 22 September –  at least one of our current members played a key role in the previous BIBBA Conference on the Isle of Man, held in June 1973!

Here is a contemporary account of the Conference, published in the British Bee Journal.

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Reference in the article above is made to Beowulf Cooper, Trevor Rimmer, Professor Ruttner and Robert Coulson. IOM Beekeepers Federation President Elect and Official Bee Inspector, Harry Owens, has identified various VIPs in the picture below.

BIBBA Conference 15th-23rd June 1973

Beowulf Cooper, fromt row, second from the right as we look at the photograph. (You can read about this luminary, founder of BIBBA, here and here.)

Trevor Rimmer, President at the time of the Conference, is the tall chap just right of centre, Herby Quirk is two to President Rimmer’s right, with a bright lapel badge, while Professor Ruttner is on the extreme left, in the front row. (Both Trevor Rimmer and Herbie Quirk were mentioned in the article, The Quest to improve the Manx Dark Honey Bee, put together by the Manx Bee Improvement Group, last year.)

Sporting a stylish moustache, three behind the man with the chain in the centre, is our own Harry Owens.

Who can identify the others?


Loading up my boat PSM slipway




Amongst the activities laid on for the visitors was a visit to the Calf of Man to see how the isolation hives were progressing.

Here Harry and his coxswain prepare to cross the Sound.

The coxswain – in his office shoes – appears to be doing all the work whilst Harry directs operations.




PSM Golf Course getting queen ready to launch



And the Flight of the Tethered Virgin Queen, in her cage hoisted by a helium balloon, was another.

Here Harry – in Norwegian jumper – secures the queen, before sending her aloft over the Rowany Golf Course.

Harry relates that the balloon was actually a weather balloon, procured from the Met Office at Ronaldsway – all in the interests of science, of course!







And the Conference Programme, a bit crumpled forty three years later, but still legible.BIBBA Conference 1973 Programme - page 2

This year’s Conference Committee take note – much Fun and Entertainment required as well as lectures!

(Many thanks to Harry for delving in his archives and providing these fascinating pictures and insights; and I’m told there is more to come!)


One Response to BIBBA Comes to the Isle of Man – in 1973

  1. pauline says:

    love this Johnny. thanks for putting it all together! Pauline

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