Page 13 - ALG Issue 2 20202
P. 13

Western Area Federation kept a watching brief as developments made serious encroachments on allotment land. On the whole though Bristol ranked as one
of the three largest allotment centres in the country.
One large annual event was Harvest Festival organised by
the Federation and authorities
of Central Hall. Many tons of produce were collected from local plotholders, and afterwards these were distributed to hospitals and similar institutions throughout the city by the Rotary Club.
In the Bridgwater District, there was one of the most progressive branches of the National Allotment Society.
In the town itself in 1928, two hundred and fifty allotment holders had been displaced by the Council’s new housing scheme. As a result, an equivalent area was purchased in the vicinity and let at a rental of 1s 2d per perch. All members were firm believers in co-operative trading. Lectures and Whist drives
were held during the winter months, with average attendance of no less than 600. One of the most remarkable enterprises carried out was the “Allotment Outing Club”.
Contributions of not less than 6d per week were made by members during the year and trips to favourite seaside resorts were organised. Special trains were chartered for the previous 6 years and about 400 members and friends participated in these social events.
As to be expected, this was one of the five largest centres of allotments in England and Wales. London County Council (LCC) had 12,000 allotments around this time. Building developments were continually taking place, and this made retention of allotment land for any length of time very difficult. Both the LCC and the London Boroughs had certain
responsibilities with regard to the provision of allotments. For example the LCC was the town planning authority and when a London Borough approached requesting to reserve land for allotments in their town planning schemes, the reply invariably was “Yes we are quite willing to reserve land
for this purpose providing you will indemnify us against any expense or loss incurred.”
London allotment holders had even greater difficulties to surmount than their fellows in the provinces.
Some boroughs were not at all sympathetic towards the allotment movement. West Ham was quoted as a typical example. There was not a single permanent allotment in the borough and all attempts by plotholders had been frustrated.
The Port of London Authority had provided a large number of allotments but the local authority used every excuse for escaping its obligations.
The allotment movement in London
at this time was co-ordinated by the London Area Allotment Council.
The organisation covered a radius of twenty-five miles around Charing Cross and included districts which were not
London allotment holders had even greater difficulties to surmount than their fellows in the provinces
in the Metropolitan area. At this time there were 100 societies connected with the Council and two large federations. Amongst the latter was Croydon Federation which attached its 12 associations representing over 2000 plotholders.
Finally, reference to London would
not be complete without mentioning the London Allotments Garden Show Society; this organisation held the 2-day annual show. This was a spectacular event in the Royal Horticultural Hall
in September and patronised by associations in the London area and even associations as far afield as Somerset exhibited.
This show had great educational value and at this time was thought it would develop into a great National Allotment Show.
            In the next edition, ALG 3, we will look closely at the development of the National Allotment Society in and around 1935 and in our final publication ALG 4 will look at the end of the 1930s and draw together the changes in this ten-year period.
Allotment and Leisure Gardener 13

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