Page 10 - ALG Issue 2 20202
P. 10

Allotment news from the
National Allotment Society Head Office during the early 1930s
In September 1930 the NAS, then based in Broadway Westminster London, produced its first Annual Report. The Society had just completed an amalgamation with another organisation and become a co- operative on the 24th April 1930. This organised allotment movement had entered a new era; however, at this time with the prospect of a stronger movement, it was with sadness that the Society had to announce a further decrease in the number of allotments. Since the First World War, allotments had been decreasing at a rate of 35,000 per year. The remedy proposed by the new NAS was a two-pronged attack:
1. By improved legislation
2. By better administration
It was essential at this time, within any new legislation, to give additional powers to more progressive local authorities, who were keen to promote the interests of plotholders. Secondly, it was essential to bring the more backward authorities into line.
The NAS at this time used its influence to promote good relations between allotment societies and local authorities.
The report at this time came from Newcastle and the opening sentence stated, ‘It would be difficult to find more capable or more enthusiastic allotment holders than those in this northern city. Unfortunately, their ardour was damped considerably by the continued loss of plots and inability of the City Council to provide permanent land.”
Allotment land was let to associations at about £7.00 per acre, with one exception of eleven acres purchased at £400 per acre. Newcastle had been
identified as the headquarters of the Northern Area Organisation of the National Allotment Society. An initial meeting was attended by a great many people and was to consolidate the movement in the counties of Durham and Northumberland where a huge number of allotment associations were in existence.
In other parts of Northumberland,
the movement was really strong and particularly well organised, especially in Ashington, Newbiggin and within Durham, Sunderland and Ferryhill which were the recognised strongholds. Nearly every colliery village of any size had its own allotment association.
The Report outlined a scheme initiated by the Society of Friends for relief
and distress. Under this scheme, hundreds of plots were brought back into cultivation and new land had been broken up in the mining districts.
Within the first report, the north west region was broken down into three main regions; Lancashire, Liverpool and Manchester.
In Lancashire the concentration of allotments was outlined as being in Blackburn, Bolton, Bury, Heywood, Nelson, Newton-le-Willows, Oldham, Preston, Urmston and Whitefield. In all these towns, the allotment movement was described as well organised. The Report, however, gave more detail on allotments in and around Liverpool and Manchester.
A great deal of land in the city of Liverpool had been first established twenty-one years previously on land belonging to the burials board. During the first World War period, allotment representatives were co-opted onto
Since the First World War, allotments had been decreasing at a rate of 35,000 per year. The remedy proposed by the new NAS was a two- pronged attack
the Council’s Allotments Committee to act in an advisory capacity. When the 1922 Act came into force, a Statutory Committee was set up consisting of fifteen members, five being nominees from the Liverpool Allotments Council.
The Report goes on to outline that
one of the first sensible things the Committee did was to hand over the entire control of its allotments to the respective associations. This saved
the Corporation from an immense amount of detailed work and the prompt payment of rent was assured. The amount of land under allotments at
this time was 200 acres with a further 100 acres being made available by the Town Planning Scheme. Most of the allotments within the city around this time were held on a seven years’ lease, renewable at the end of that period.
The Town Planning Sub-Committee also consisted of two representatives from the allotments movement. This is perhaps the reason why so much extra land had been scheduled for allotments.
In 1930 the rent charged to plotholders was 1s 0d per pole, plus 3d; the latter figure was used for management expenses. Co-operative trading was undertaken by most societies. Shows in the summer and winter activities were for the benefit of members. All these efforts at this time were augmented by the Corporation who ran a competition and awarded medals for the five best kept and cropped allotments in each area.
In Manchester the movement within the city developed along totally different lines to that of the sister city. The city was one of the few in the country that had not entrusted the management
of allotments to the many organised associations in its midst. The organised movement had great difficulty in getting representation on the Allotments Committee which the Act of 1922 accorded. Quite naturally, after this
the relations between the movement
          10 Allotment and Leisure Gardener

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