Can I infer from your location in Battersea that people with small surburban gardens can keep bees without posing a risk to neighbours? Our small end of terrace garden backs onto a school playing field, so I have assumed that the risk of children (not to mention others who live nearby) getting stung would be much too great. Is that so?
Good question. The answer is that there are hundreds if not thousands of hobbies beekeepers keeping bees in small urban gardens throughout the UK. I personally know of a few that keep them in close proximity to open public grounds & schools. Many schools themselves keep bees on the grounds for the education of the students.
The best way forward is to buy a few beekeeping books, beekeeping DVD and join a beekeeping course who will teach you how to safely install a beehive in an urban setting. Our beekeeping course covers many areas of setting up your apiary site, how to do this, best locations, choosing the right bees, when to open a hive and much more.
Keeping your own bees is great fun, exciting and obsessive! It's not rocket science, but requires the beekeeper to act responsibly and care for the on going welfare of their bees. Bees are not just for Christmas but for life.
Have a look at our website; 'Beekeeping with the Hive' and our 2011 Beekeeping Course details under products.
Hope that answered your question and good luck with your beekeeping.