Edwinstowe Allotment Association

Welcomes all Edwinstowe Allotment and Home Gardeners who enjoy growing for the kitchen or for pleasure.Edwinstowe Allotment Association fruits and preserves

Edwinstowe Allotment Association have served our gardening members for almost 100yrs in their allotment and home gardening needs. Until 2015 most of our time and energy was spent in managing and maintaining the Ollerton Road allotment site to the standards set by the owners Thoresby Estates. Now relieved of that responsibility we are looking to the future and widening our vision. Home gardeners have always been able to join our association and take advantage of the very attractive discounted seed scheme we have arranged with Kings seeds. This covers both vegetables and flowers. We also resourcefully find plants, bulbs, fertilisers and other sundries at advantageous prices for all of our members and will continue to do so. As a community of people who enjoy gardening and sharing our knowledge and experience in growing and using we invite you to become a member and take advantage of the benefits that a properly constituted association can offer.

Edwinstowe Allotment Association Annual membership fee

£1.00 Initially payable upon joining and each March from then onwards. The benefits of being a member of the Association are as follows: –

  1. Discounted seeds and sundries
  2. Discounted compost and fertiliser
  3. Opportunity to have brassica, potato, onion and garlic plants and sets, flowering bulbs at an advantageous price available to order.
  4. You will also be covered by the Association’s Public Liability Insurance the details of cover can be viewed on the notice board inside the window of the Association Shed.
  5. You will have full voting rights at the AGM and can stand for election.
  6. Members discounts for any events or trips incurring a cost.
  7. Access to the member’s forum on the ‘In Edwinstowe’ community web-site

Interested in becoming a member of the Edwinstowe Allotment Association? Contact Edwinstowe.gardeners@outlook.com Or telephone Sheila 824762

A History of Allotment Gardening

There is a long and interesting history of allotment gardening that seems to have had two very different beginnings running in parallel with each other long before the movement we now call an allotment garden was created. On the one hand the enclosure of common land led to a provision of growing land for the rural poor, and on the other the move into towns driven by the industrial revolution led to ‘city allotments’ that were predominantly gardened by the well-off middle classes.

The process of enclosure started as almost as early as the Norman Conquest. It was a process by which previously common land once held in an open field system was divided up and enclosed by new hedges, and the use of the land became restricted to the owner.

Kettles have aways been an important part of the history of allotment gardening

By 1750 there was an active movement for Parliamentary enclosure, and over the next 100 years’ entire parishes were enclosed at a time, and new hedges were planted to divide the fields, changing the landscape forever. Over this period the majority of common land in Britain was enclosed leaving a whole class of rural dispossessed.

Throughout this period of enclosure there were various movements to try and provide ground for the common labourer. As early as 1649 a group that called themselves the ‘Diggers Movement’ who were protesting for the ‘right to dig’ for all. A group of hungry men, led by Gerrard Winstanley, organised a mass trespass on waste land in St George’s Hill, Surrey, sowing it with vegetables and wheat.

The ‘Diggers’ efforts were quickly dispersed by the government; however, the idea of a ‘right to dig’ was born and is still very much alive today.

History of Allotment Gardening in Urban Areas

There is a very different history of allotment gardening for urban areas where demand for inner city allotments originally came from the better off middle classes who wanted space to relax and escape the confines of the city, as well as space to grow their own food. The poor had no place in this vision for a healthier lifestyle or better food. Such gardening interests were driven by the 19th Century obsession with gardening which was a way of showing how wealthy, and therefore civilised, the tenant or owner was. Brick or stone built summer houses and folly’s allowed the family to spend private time outdoors and even entertain in the summer months. Such plots were often enclosed by high hedges or fences and were very private places.

These types of allotments started to decline with the spread of Victorian villas that usually had their own garden, and most were turned into ‘normal’ allotments or built on. Some still survive today and at least four have been placed on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historical Interest.

The history of allotment gardening at The St Anns Allotments, Nottingham, is a very special and unique one. It is the oldest and largest area of Victorian detached town gardens in the world and has recently been listed with a Grade 2* by English Heritage. The site covers 75 acres and sits in the heart of the one of the most deprived inner-city communities in the country.

Allotment Gardening as a result of the 1st Wold WarGrowing potatoes in straw

By 1914 there were somewhere between 450,000 and 600,000 allotments in England, and although the 1907 Smallholdings and Allotments Act had forced local authorities into providing allotments, there was still some resistance.

That resistance soon faded as the severity of the impact that Germany’s blockades had on food supplies came into realisation. There was then a serious move to increase the number of allotments, and local authorities were given powers to turn any derelict land into allotments. By 1917 there were over 1.5 million allotments in England.

After the war, demand for allotments was still high, and returning servicemen joined the waiting lists for plots. Unfortunately, much of the land that was requisitioned for the war (50,000 acres) was returned to its original purpose – often recreational land and the interest in allotments began to decline.

Measures were taken to protect plot holders and some were offered compensation to vacate their plots, and by 1929 there were less than 1M plots left.

The history of Edwinstowe Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Association

Edwinstowe Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Association began after the WW1 and has a long and proud history of serving its member’s needs. It was established April 15th 1918 with the establishment of Ollerton Road Allotments to serve the needs of allowing the men of the village to feed their families.

There are still copies of the original hand written agreement in which the owners (Thoresby Estates) gave all management and maintenance responsibilities and costs to the Association whilst making the Parish Council the ones responsible for collecting and paying the rent.

It is reasonable to question why the Parish Council was made the tenant when the Edwinstowe Allotment Association were totally responsible for the running and upkeep. However, as few councils of that time owned rural land as this was still in the hands of the landed gentry, allowing the tenancy to fall into the hands of the local council allowed them to fulfil their statutory duty to provide allotments where requested.

Part of the history of allotment gardening in Edwinstowe shows that the The Edwinstowe Allotment Association has taken the duty of managing and maintaining the Ollerton Road allotments site very seriously from 1918 to 2014. Even during the decline of popularity the plot holders worked together to ensure the future of the site was protected and kept to the standards demanded by the owners. Many of the plot holders have had their plots for decades, sometimes paying for and cultivating several plots before the revival of allotment gardening in order to prevent the site being closed. We have the national record holder for the longest unbroken tenancy in the country. He was given an award by NSALG (National Society of Allotment Holders and Leisure Gardeners).

The Christmas hampers of fresh vegetables delivered over the years, by the Parish Council workers, to many of our elderly citizens were provided by the Edwinstowe Allotment Association free of charge and harvested specifically for this purpose. They also gave fresh vegetables for the Harvest Festival Services when fresh food was acceptable and surplus crops also were donated to Framework the charity helping homeless people.

The sale of fresh produce on the High Street in recent years was to raise funds to begin the upgrading of the site which was beginning to look outdated and in need of some care and attention. The Committee of the time worked hard to find best value for money in repairing the access road, which became inaccessible in bad weather. With the help of a local farm workers, for little other than out of pocket expenses, they were able to lay over a hundred tons of shale over the period of a couple of years. It was inspiring to watch these men in their 70s and 80s laying 80 tons in one day. It was evidence of the mind-set of a different time when manual labour was normal for the men of the village.

The Edwinstowe Allotment Association may have been removed from the responsibility, and the burden of the cost, of repairing and managing the allotment site but they do still feel passionately about both allotment and home gardening along with ensuring the future of the Edwinstowe Allotment Association is safeguarded for the next generations.