Allotments are becoming increasingly popular and in certain areas including my local areas. There are long waiting lists. My wife’s uncle has an allotment in Camborne and I am looking forward to finding out what they are growing this year and hopefully getting some samples to try. I am always happy to give free advice in exchange for a taste of the produce at their next dinner party.
A few years ago I looked into the history of allotments and was surprised how long they have been around. In fact allotments date back to the Norman times, where land was put aside for poorer people to grow their own food. The land was mainly owned by the church until the time of Henry VIII. During the reformation the land was confiscated by the crown and given to the lords, who started to enclose these areas dispossessing the poor. Elizabeth I helped out by providing allotments of land for less fortunate people to grow food and keep animals. In the eighteen hundreds and early twentieth century lots of acts were passed, which put responsibilities on local authorities to provide allotments should there be a need.
During the world wars the demand for allotment land increased and a lot of areas owned by the railways were allotted to their workers. This is why you see allotments by railways today. After the Second World War the need for allotments declined, but over the last decade things have increased, as growing your own has become more fashionable.
I must say I like to see our allotments in my local area well used, neat rows of healthy vegetables have their own beauty and better still they’re tasty.
Enjoy your gardening.