I, honestly, thought that allotments go back to the 1900's, maybe when the World War II had just finished, but no. The idea and start of allotments actually goes back to 1649!
The practical need to grow food, is part of our history and as such, farmers etc...required small acres of earth for the food production. However, this was a struggle with the land.
This all goes way back to when the Saxons were able to clear land and use it for usage, until the Normans came along and claimed ownership. The first mentioned of allotted land, arrived late in the reign of Elizabeth I when allotments were attached to tenant cottages for compensation for the reawakening of land.
In 1649, somebody called Gerrard Winstanley led a group of men to take over land. This done well in protest of the people, who were being robbed of their land by the Normans. At this time also, food prices were high. Winstanley's men began to cultivate the land. He claimed that all men had the 'right to dig'. Winstanley captured man's imagination, however the protest was sadly killed by the authorities. Although, the spirit of 'right to dig' still lives in many of us today!
Disappointingly, during the industrial transformation, thousands abandoned the maintenance way of life and relocated to cities to work in the factories. Still, there was a change in the air with the General Enclosure Act of 1845, the Allotment Movement and with it came a new principle; local councils were to provide land.
This went on and on, until even public parks were turned into allotments. It was estimated that 1.4 million allotments were used to produce 1.3 tonnes of fruit and vegetables per year! I'd love to produce that many!
Today, we have higher interests for allotments and so much to do with them, such as combination of crops, fertilizers, appropriate equipment and tools. It's amazing how they coped during that time, having only the simple compost and manure, basic gear and appliances, still grew as good as today!
I've got a lot of respect for the older generation of our society!...
...and looking at the photo above, if not, better crops!
In the 1970's, my Mum had an plot in Bebington Road Allotments. It is a great honour to be part of Bebington Road Allotments, where my Mum was.
I recall, as a small child, playing on my Mum's allotment. One memory in particular, playing on my metal Ferguson tractor, even chain driven, with little legs powering it. With my tipping trailer, I filled it up with my Mum's onions before they had grown, I understand why my Dad shouted at me now!
It would have been lovely to have had my Mum's old plot to carry on the good work that she did, but somebody else at the moment is doing a good job on that plot and being in Bebington Road Allotments is enough for me, a great privilege.
Also, everyone I have met there are brilliant too. Let's just hope that allotments, in particular Bebington Road, goes on for years to come!
Happy Growing gardeners!