Thursday, March 21, 2013

Know your history

There’s an excellent article by Lia Leendertz in the latest edition of the RHS magazine The Garden, on allotment history.  In the face of local authorities, notably Watford, wanting to build on allotment sites (and presenting allotment holders as selfish and defending a ‘luxury’ position), she reminds us of the origins of allotments.

Essentially they were a revolution-preventing sop to the landless poor following the great land grab, by the already-landed classes, which was the Enclosure.  Lia reminds us that “between 1600 & 1850 the rich and powerful fenced off and claimed as their own millions of acres of common land, previously considered a common man’s birthright…..They are our last fingerhold on the vast tracts of land we [all of us] could once call upon, carved off millions of acres at a time.  No-one should ever be regarded as selfish for defending that.”

Absolutely right, and well said.  Worth remembering as allotment rents are about to rise by 100% in Sheffield.

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