British allotments’ history

argylesock says… Here’s a good summary of how we came to have allotments in Britain, and what they mean to us now. My current allotment (one of several I’ve had) is a lifeline to me.

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video from Britain says about itself:

The English Enclosures

July 19, 2011

The devastating enclosures of the English commons forced peasants into the labour market and the factories of the industrial revolution. This video explains how and why.

By Nick Matthews in Britain:

Oases of contemplation, exercise and recreation

Wednesday 15 May 2013

I was delighted when the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners joined Co-ops UK.

It has been around since 1901, and as a bona-fide Industrial and Provident Society has long been a co-operative.

Allotments hold a special place in working-class culture. While there is no typical allotment holder or allotment site, nonetheless they have produced an instantly recognisable landscape.

Interestingly, in their seminal book The Allotment, Its Landscape and Culture – now sadly out of print – David Crouch and Colin Ward argue that the allotment began as a moral project that promoted…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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2 Responses to British allotments’ history

  1. Finn says:

    Fascinating stuff Sam. This lead to a bit of research into imperial units because my English grandfather had an allotment which was measured in ‘poles’ – can’t remember how many – but the imperial units are so much more interesting than the metric ones 🙂

    • argylesock says:

      Belated response… I think our plots are marked out in poles. The site I garden on has been allotments for quite a long time. I’m not sure how long, but we plotholders keep finding Victorian bottles and pottery. My neighbour, a Professor of agricultural history, says that these are clear signs of the field having been fertilised with night soil.

      None of the other plotholders are old enough to remember the Victorian era, but some of them look as though they almost are so! Certainly old enough to remember the good old days, and not to accept any newfangled nonsense like re-measuring the plots. It suits me in fact. I use metric measurement in the lab, of course, but I space my crops in feet and inches.

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