Norman Chapman Obituary, Death – The National Honey Show’s publicity secretary, Norman Chapman’s daughter, writes. Dad was the youngest of five kids and grew up in Beckenham, Kent. He had three older sisters but lost his older brother in the battle. Back when he was just 12 years old, he saw the Crystal Palace burn to the ground from the comfort of his own bedroom window. After graduating from high school, he entered an apprenticeship in the toolmaking trade before being drafted into the Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II. However, he was discharged from the RAF before completing navigator training.
Then he went to school to become an electrical engineer. I edited and published his first book, Constructive Beekeeping, in which he shares the concepts, strategies, and methods he developed while adapting and refining the various tools he used in his beekeeping. That book was just what he needed when he first got into beekeeping, he added. He met my mother, Joan, at a double wedding his two sisters were a part of after the war.
During the war, she and one of Dad’s sisters, Connie, were stationed together. Then, many years later, while I was in my college industrial year working in the Department of Insecticides and Fungicides at Rothamsted Experimental Station, something piqued Dad’s interest in beekeeping. Rothamsted may not have a bee section anymore, but the topic of bees remains popular. Next spring, Dad was excited to get his first beehives.
The National Honey Show was something that dad enjoyed watching as well. He and his fellow WBKA members would often submit joint entries. He had a booth where he demonstrated and sold rolled wax candle foundations for a while. Even after his mother passed away, he kept working as a steward. The following year, he invited Quekett to the show, where he and Quekett spent many hours chatting with visitors while displaying his pollen drawings and answering their questions about bees, pollen, and microscopy. Since then, The National Honey Show has annually received sponsorship from the Quekett Microscopical Club.
This year (2022) was the first time in the 15 years or so that I have been been associated with The National Honey Show that Dad was unable to attend. The number of individuals enquiring after him indicated that the place was as bustling as usual, but without him. Everyone who knew him remembers him affectionately, and his influence in the world of beekeeping was clearly much more than he ever imagined.