About Thorne

We have filmed a short video about Thornes and what we do at our site in Lincolnshire.  Take a look on our Youtube channel here.

For over 100 years we have been making beehives in this area of Lincolnshire, starting with our founder, Edgar Henry Thorne. The headmaster of Wragby School was a beekeeper and he asked Edgar, as a joiner on the local estate, to make him a beehive. Thirteen years later, Edgar developing the wedge type top bar (probably the most widely used top bar today). His son Leslie Thorne made the first foray into plastic hives, feeders and honey extractors in the 1960’s. Leslie was also behind much of the automation of our manufacturing process in the latter half of the 20th Century. This innovation has continued through to the 21st Century with the introduction of microprocessors in many of our in-house machine tools. We still innovate- with simplicity being key in bringing forward new products such as the Easi-Steam and the hugely popular Trickle 2.

Now we are a fourth generation family firm supporting hundreds of local people and around 40,000 beekeepers. We employ over 100 people at our four locations around the country, the majority being at Rand. Here we run our multi-disciplined business on a 31 acre site.

We have a sewing department for producing, veils, jackets and gauntlets. Our wax plant processes over 100 tonnes of beeswax per annum producing approximately 2,000,000 sheets of foundation; most of it wired.

We supply personalised labels throughout the world. We also manufacture the Empire smokers and fabricate many tools and honey extractors in our engineering department. Here we carry out a great deal of R & D into modifying and producing new equipment.

Our woodwork shop supports a large proportion of our staff working on over sixty woodworking machines.

In this building we also have a large quality control area for sorting, collating and packing the numerous hive parts and frames we produce.

At Rand we also have our 5,000 sq.ft shop. You will be made very welcome by our staff; an increasing number of whom are now experienced beekeepers.

Take the opportunity to visit the Buzz Stop for a cup of tea or tasty light lunch at unbelievably reasonable prices.

We are pleased to announce a new partnership with Thomas Apiculture in France; one of the oldest and most respected suppliers of beekeeping equipment in the world. They specialise in quality stainless steel equipment. We specialise in quality hives. You can now find our Western Red Cedar hives (albeit to a French specification) in their catalogue and their stainless steel equipment in our catalogue.

All our top quality hives are made from Western Red Cedar. WRC is renowned for its natural beauty and outstanding physical properties. It is a highly durable timber and has one of the longest life-spans of any softwood with natural decay and insect resistance. Its low density gives it an insulation value far superior to most other species of timber. It is light, attractively coloured and possesses outstanding dimensional stability All our Budget Hives are made from home-grown cedar. Both timbers are sourced from sustainable forests.

Our green credentials are impressive. The loose-fill packaging is recycled cardboard collected from local businesses. Our sawdust and shavings are recycled in a fully automatic biomass burner which heats our 13,000 sq.ft woodwork shop. We also have another biomass burner which heats our 10,000 sq,ft. wax plant and engineering department. All timber off-cuts are shredded for the biomass or collected and used as a garden mulch or smoker fuel. We also produce sawdust and shavings briquettes for use on open fires or wood burners.

Elsewhere, our three branches hold a large stock of Thornes beekeeping equipment. In Newburgh, Fife we have a retail, warehousing and manufacturing facility. Here Brian runs the shop and also assembles quite a few products as well as the exclusive manufacture of all our silicone moulds. At Oakley Green, just outside Windsor, Bob, an expert beekeeper in his own right, runs the store with some assembly work and IT support for Rand. This branch is very handy for Heathrow and is only 4 miles from junction 6 of the M4. Last but by no means least we have Thornes of Stockbridge. This branch is run by Lin Coleman. Lin has been involved in beekeeping equipment for many years and will make you most welcome; you might even get a piece of cake if you time your visit right!

For quality, service and innovation, there is only one choice.

Thornes – we lead where others follow.