An industrial site in Walthamstow isn't an obvious choice for the headquarters of a bee-saving enterprise, but that's exactly where Curtis Thompson decided to put down roots. Curtis traded bonds for beehives when he left a banking career to become Local Honey Man: beekeeper and now one of the UK’s largest raw honey providers.
Driven on by the decline of the honey bee, Curtis employs responsible, ethical beekeeping management and production in his aim to reverse both declining population whilst renewing interest in local community business. This is what attracted photographer Carmel King to document the principles and process of Local Honey Man’s bee to jar approach.
Local Honey Man also runs talks, workshops and training to raise awareness of ethical practice for anyone interested in setting up their own urban hives. This is particularly important when sustainability is paramount. Mismanagement of urban bees has led researchers at Cambridge University to question their helpfulness to the cause due to an increase in urban bees creating less pollen for wild bees to survive. As a champion of the bee-saving community, Local Honey Man is known for sending its hives on holiday to the Yorkshire Moors to rest and create heather honey. Talk about a sweet deal.
From the man himself: “We’re ethical beekeepers, pure and simple. We want people to enjoy honey in its purest form, whilst doing our bit to protect the honey bee. Not many people understand just how much the honey bee contributes to our world, so my goal is to champion that cause – and I like to think we are doing that.”
This story is part of Makers and Manufacturers, photographer Carmel King’s intimate documentary series of crafts-based industry across London boroughs.
The Inside Story
"I learned a lot about honey and bees in the short time I was with Curtis. He's very ambitious and it's great to have an entrepreneur like him in the borough, creating a meaningful product at scale." - Carmel King