Allotments


Oddments


How big is an allotment? (www.nsalg.org.uk/allotment-info/
)
An allotment is traditionally measured in rods (perches or poles), an old measurement dating back to Anglo-Saxon times. 10 poles is the accepted size of an allotment, the equivalent of 250 square metres or about the size of a doubles tennis court.

1841 Tithe map
Cut Throat Lane – field belonged to Freeborns farm that is now allotments.

1841
ERO Accession A5404. ‘Bramston scrapbooks’, Book 1, greenish cover, page 19 of notes
Poster
‘To the Poor Inhabitants of Witham. Notice is hereby given that it is intended to divide a Field, near Chipping Hill Bridge, called Knee Field, into allotments of garden ground not exceeding 20 rods. Any person wishing to hire an Allotment of 10 or 20 rods is requested to apply immediately to Mr Wade at the National School, who will set down the applicant’s name, and give him information   ‘ [information not specified]. Occupation on 1 November next .John Bramston, Oct 1841.
Pro-forma
‘Witham Field Gardens. Allotment no —, — Rods of Ground. Yearly Rent —s —d  and one Potato’.
Conditions, include:
‘No Work … On Lords Day or Christmas Day or Good Friday’
Not to under-let without permission.
No buildings or trees allowed.
Keep neat.
No ploughing.
Not more than half of ground to have potatoes.
Gates kept locked.
No children except to work. Damages ‘by them to be made good by the Parent’.
If dishonest or injury to other tenant, or convicted of any offence against law, or reach rules, landlord can take possession.
To be signed and witnessed.

1842-72
Surrey History Centre: Earls of Onslow of Clandon Park, Estate Papers
Earls of Onslow of Clandon Park, West Clandon: Estate papers of the 4th and 5th Earls of Onslow
Catalogue Ref.1320
Allotment hiring card for Witham Field Gardens, with conditions and record of lettings 1847-1872 – ref.1320/418/5? – date: [c1887]
From web site of A2A, Access to Archives: Http://www.a2a.pro.gov.uk/search/docframe.asp?styletype=xsl&i=110&filename=xsl\A2A_com.xsl&com=1

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, in Essex Record Office
Saturday, November 12 1842, ERO D/DU 1639

Corn Markets higher, but the Cattle fair to day at Chelmsford was dull indeed, but very few sales at very low prices, but probably not so low as they seem likely to settle down to. I find that in North Essex the farmers are determined to keep pace in lowering poor mens wages with the Cattle and Corn. Labour there is now 14d per day! Being 8/ per week!! And the allotments let to labourers (being prohibited in many instances from growing ??? straw crops) is charge to them 6d per rod or £4 per acre. The farmers who underlet in this way giving for the same land 25/ or 30/ per acre! Our labour here is paid at the rate of 11/ per week by the day with small beer. By the by some of my neighbours lay claim to an excessive amount of charity in letting out these allotments to Agricultural labourers. Our Vicar the Reverend Mr. Bramston held his rent audit in his Coach House last Friday evening. The Entertainment consisted of roast mutton (alias baked), plum-puddings, ale and Bacca. The number of Tenants 70 (or about that). Bramston presided with his Curate Mr. Fagun as vice. The quantity of land in each holding is ?  rods for which these poor people pay 8d per rod!! Which is at the rate of £5:6.8 per acre!!! The Landlord paying Tithe Rate and other outgoings. The parson in taking his charity garment out of this affair will have but a thin covering for his sins!

In his predecessors time 6 years ago this land was let to a farmer for 30/ per acre.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Sunday September 14th, 1845, ERO D/DU 1639

The accounts from all quarters state the potato crop to be most destructively diseased. I have taken up one piece of Pink eyed Kidneys and not one in ten are sound. I have some I hope much better but some which were taken up a fortnight since supposed to be unaffected are beginning to decay and I have great apprehensions that the failure will be much greater than is feared. This must prove a heavy calamity to the Poor as the potato crop in the allotment gardens is to them of much moment.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Wednesday September 24th, 1845, ERO D/DU 1639

Weather yesterday & today fine with sharp frosts in the morning which has cut down the potatoes when they were not previously destroyed by the murrains – I have determined not to take up mine for some time. I think they will be riper in the ground, such of them as are not rotten. In the allotments or field gardens of the poor I calculate that two thirds of the crop is destroyed and I very much fear that those which appear sound are not so and that they will rot in a few weeks. The new varieties appear to me to suffer least. Some of our old sorts have entirely perished from the disease or murrain. At present if well steamed with a little salt they agree with my sows & pigs but they hardly eat them raw. It is now said that this disease made its appearances in some districts last year and that it may prove fatal in following years.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Thursday October 9th, 1845, ERO D/DU 1639

Rain at intervals during the day, which being our ploughing match & meeting for prizes for cottage gardens, allotments etc. dampened the proceedings in the field at Mr Hutley. But few ladies could attend. We dined afterwards at White Hart Lord Raleigh in the Chair. A smart speaking  conversation on farming & matters connected with the society followed in the evening. Quite enough talkers. Farmers can make speeches such as their ancestors little dreamed of.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Wednesday January 7th, 1846, ERO D/DU 1639

This has been a mild, cheerful day like April, the winds of December quite hushed – not so the political world. Meetings in favour of Corn Laws continue to be held in various places but the high tone of the actors in them is fast coming down & meetings for a repeal (total) gain strength & power every day. At a village in Wiltshire a meeting in the evening of the labourers has been held of which a full report in the Times of this day. They assembled in the road & a labourer was called to the Chair. Resolutions were moved & seconded in a regular manner with speeches by labourers & if the Tale they told be true a more monstrous system of oppression is not to be found in History. One circumstance particularly requires notice namely that allotments let to the poor pay at least double rents to the same land let to common tenants. The same occurs here our Vicar Mr Bramston let land to the poor at the rate of £5 per acre!! By our previous vicar this land was let to a farmer for 30/. Lord Rayleigh also lets a field in this parish to the poor for upwards of £5 per acre. This is called charity forsooth!! I wonder if the Parson can find a passage in the Bible to sanction this.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Wednesday, March 10, 1847

A very sharp frost this morning and all the drain pipes made these two last days frozen & destroyed, & my men today have suspended work. The spring vegetables Brocoli lettuce &c are fast perishing under this severe weather which added to the potato failure presses heavily upon the poor labourer who cultivates his allotment piece & for wh. here he commonly pays a double rent to the Landlord, that is double what a tenant farmer pays. Wheaten bread is now well nigh our only resource for food.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Friday, April 30, 1847

Corn Markets at Chelmsford today firm. I sold one parcel of red wheat at 84/- & another at 83/-. Our labourers almost literally live upon bread. No potatoes are left & cold late spring has destroyed much of the Cabbage tribe in their garden allotments. Many are hungry & half fed. This has however been a favorable week although not warm for the growth of vegetation. Moderate showers are more suitable to vegetation than hasty & heavy rains.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Sunday, September 26, 1847

The Anniversarys of the Agricultural Societys are now being held in this & other counties.  In some cases their meetings are entirely devoted to a public distribution of prizes to labourers & servants embracing every variety of farming & domestic engagements. & for the cultivation of garden allotments &c. In others prizes to farmers for best roots, cattle &c. Any common object which brings the different classes of society has a beneficial tendency but it unfortunately happens that Landlord & Tenants frequently meet only on these occasions in a Social Manner for many Landlords employ agents to make bargains for occupying land as well as to take rents getting away as much as possible from all intercourse with the parties with whose interests they are so much complicated & then again farmers keep as much aloof from their labourers & thus all parties try to break asunder the links which ought to bind them together.

 

 

UDC Building Committee, 21 March 1911, page 33 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/1)

Mr Blood be asked to name price for part of the former allotment field at Chipping Hill [this for building cottages].

 

UDC Building Committee, 24 March 1911, page 34 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/1)

Mr Blood offered frontage of the old allotment field in Church Street at £75 per acre. [this for building cottages].

 

30 January 1917, page 768, D/UWi 1/4/2 Urban District Council Letter Book

Council has considered extension of land for cultivation. Society’s field Pains Haven is suitable Do Society intend to cultivate it?

To Mr F Simpson, Secretary, Witham Co-op.

 

UDC 25 June 1917 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/3)

page 389. To get two sprayers for potatoes to prevent disease, for use of allotment holders. Invite applications for spraying at 3d per rod.

 

UDC 28 January 1918 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/3)

page 431. Letter from Essex War Agricultural Committee re ‘cultivation of as much land as possible in allotments’. No action necessary.

 

Essex Weekly News, 1 February 1918

page 4, col 3. Witham Urban District Council meeting.

Allotments. Captain Abrey proposed Council should use land purchased for cemetery, for allotments. Cemetery not required for years. Mr Garrett seconded. Chairman said notice required.

 

Essex Weekly News, 22 February 1918

page 6, col 3. Potato spraying. Mr F Griffiths from Food Production Department. Address in Congregational schoolroom. Mr E Smith presided. Recommended allotment holders etc to spray crops. Great increase in production would ensue.

 

UDC, 25 February 1918 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/3)

pages 437-38. Discussion how best to cultivate cemetery field, e.g. allotments. Decided to ask ‘Messrs Crittall if they would let their field in Braintree Road to the Council for purposes of allotments for duration of the war’.

 

Essex Weekly News, 1 March 1918

page 5, col 5. Witham Urban District Council Meeting, Mr P Hutley in chair.

Allotments. Mr Abrey moved rescinding decision not to use three acres of cemetery land for allotments. He approached by men who wanted allotments, and thought they should be encouraged. Mr W Taber seconded. Mr W Pinkham against – thought wrong to let – better to cultivate it themselves. Mr J E Smith agreed. Resolution defeated by chairman’s casting vote. Mr Pinkham proposed Committee appointed to cultivate the field . Carried by same vote. Re allotments, decided to ask Crittall Manufacturing Co to allow their building site at Chipping Hill to be used. Pinkham, Taber and Smith appointed as Allotment Committee.

 

UDC 25 March 1918 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/3)

page 445. ‘Read letter from Mr W Gardner of 12th inst. as to 7 acres of land of the Crittall Manufacturing Company Limited which was available for allotments.’ Ask press to record facts in their reports.

 

UDC 29 April 1918, Annual Meeting (ERO D/UWi 1/1/3)

page 452. Allotments. Interview with Mr Jacques Inspector of allotments from Food Production Department, Whitehall, and ‘inspection of Pans Haven field. Mr Gardner (agent for Messrs Crittall, the owners) also attended and stated that Messrs Crittall had received permission of the Government to commence building on the field at any time and he had received instructions to provide storage in the neighbourhood for the machinery etc which was ready. Also that arrangements had been made with the Great Eastern Railway Company to construct a Railway Siding’. Agreed that to explain to Mr J that Council willing to hire but would have to be short notice.

 

30 April 1918, page 963, D/UWi 1/4/2 Urban District Council Letter Book, 30 April 1918, page 963, D/UWi 1/4/2 Urban District Council Letter Book

To ‘Inspector Food Production Dept, Ipswich.’

Have seen Messrs Crittall’s agent (‘Mr Walter Gardner of this town’). Confirmed Messrs Crittall have Government permit to proceed with building on field, ‘which they may be obliged to exercise at any time, and that the Great Eastern Railway have undertaken to construct a siding from their line into the Works immediately Messrs Crittall request them to do so. He also stated that the plant and machinery, and a good part of the joinery, were already completed for erection’. He has tried to let it without much success, a few allotments only. Council willing to hire it if felt right to cultivate.

To ‘Inspector Food Production Dept, Ipswich.’

 

UDC Allotments Committee, 13 February 1920, page 30 [first one of this Committee noticed] (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Application by resident in Chipping Hill for allotments. Mr H T Isted, representative of Lord Rayleigh, attended. Allotment Holders deputation of five also attended. They had named part of Moat Farm. They refused pieces in Highfields Road and near the Cemetery field. Deputation insisted on Council acquiring Moat Fm land under compulsory powers. Mr Isted suggested Mr J E Smith and his son Mr L E Smith should attend at Terling tomorrow at 10 a.m. to confer with Hon E G Strutt.

[continued on p 34] Application of residents in Maldon Road for allotments considered. Mr Bawtree willing to sell his field in Maldon Road now occupied by Mr Sorrell for £500. This considered excessive. Mr Pinkham to meet him.

Adopted

 

UDC Allotments Committee, 24 February 1920, page 32 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Letter from Mr H F Bawtree. After consultation with brother would sell field for £420, and if Council accepted would give Mr Sorrell notice. Agreed to accept if purchase price not more that £400.

Letter from Mr Isted. Mr Smith agreed to release the part of Moat farm required for allotments, ‘leaving it to the generosity of Mr Strutt in some way to make it up to him’. But Mr Smith said hadn’t had offer. Clerk to write to Lord Rayleigh about alternative land for Mr Smith.

Adopted

 

UDC Allotments Committee, 27 February 1920, page 35 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Mr Bawtree agreed to sell Maldon Road land for £400 and Mr Sorrell would relinquish. Agreed to purchase.

Re Chipping Hill, Mr L E Smith had letter; Mr Strutt would let him have Lenny’s Field if he would give up field at Moat Farm for allotments. But would have to wait till Michaelmas because Mr Strutt wanted to take crop at Lenny’s. But places in hands of council subject to compensation, and fence against cattle on either side of plot.

Chairman directed to see Housing Commissioner to urge confirmation of Compulsory Order re part of Cocks Farm as soon as possible, to enable Council to offer part of that to Committee.

Adopted

 

UDC Allotments Committee, 24 March 1920, page 42 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Maldon Road. Resolved to plough and disk harrow it. Then mark it up in 10 rod plots. No person to have more than one plot at present. Rent to be 8d a rod. Notice in Maldon Road to invite applications. Letter read from ‘the Witham and District Allotments Society’ suggesting field in Maldon Road be taken over by Society from Council  Decided not to entertain it.

Adopted

 

UDC Allotments Committee, 23 July 1920, page 56 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Complaints about cattle which ‘run into the Maldon Road allotment field from the road’. Gate and fence recommended.

Mr Pinkham had seen Mr S C Mayhew, Secretary of Witham and District Allotments Society, who said his Society required further land for allotments. Resolved to negotiate with Mr W Taber re field adjoining Cemetery field.

 

UDC Finance Committee, 29 May 1922, page 144 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Some moneys written off, i.e. owed for use of ambulance and for allotments.

 

UDC Roads Committee, 25 January 1924, page 274 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Allotment holders offered picked stones. Resolved to buy them for improving road leading to Brown’s Maltings. But don’t pay the holders whose rents are in arrears.

Adopted

 

UDC Estates Committee, 27 June 1924, page 321 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Some of Maldon Rd allotment land not used. A B Aldham offered to take on lease, at back of his premises, or to offer. Agreed to offer lease.

Adopted except for lease of allotment land, referred back

 

UDC Estates Committee, 22 January 1930 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/4)

page 322 Looking for allotment land to make up for what taken for housing in Guithavon Road. Mr Isted for Strutt and Parker would let 4 or 5 acres being part of field used as allotments next to Bridge Home, at back of and adjoining their field at present used for allotments. Negotiate.

 

Braintree and Witham Times, 31 January 1930, page 4

Urban District Council:

Guithavon Road estate. Mr Hodges wanted to buy his piece of allotment. Can’t because would interrupt building but would sell him ‘the spare piece of ground containing a disused gravel pit’.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 19 February 1930 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/4)

Don’t continue with hiring of land referred to before for allotments.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 18 February 1931 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/5)

page 142. Letter received re offering reduced prices for allotments to unemployed. To discuss with Witham Allotments Association. Mr F G Royce the secretary.

 

UDC Public Health Committee, 17 January 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/6)

Disposal of Household refuse. Met Mr Collier and Mr Dudley of Messrs Collier and Co of Marks Tey brick manufacturers, re their possibly taking all District House refuse. Says could definitely do it November to March but not interested in summer. Various arrangements considered. If necessary to dump temporarily, then would have to be the ‘old dump in the allotment field at Maldon Road’ where hopper could be put up. Adjourn to show them it.

 

UDC Finance and General Purposes Committee, 26 March 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 1. Tree at Maldon Road allotment field belonging to UDC, fell on Mr Loveday’s property. Surveyor got ‘certain unemployed men’ to take top of tree. Nothing offered for trunk by Mr A E Gaymer, timber merchant, or by Mr Loveday. So tell Mr Loveday he can have it if he repairs the fence.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 19 September 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 133. Bungalows for aged persons. OK to appropriate part of old cemetery site now used as allotments for this, ‘the proposed appropriation of the half acre of the Rickstones Road Recreation Ground not being practicable’ [this became Homefield Road]. Report what accommodation can be got ‘on the land at the top of the cemetery, recently hired to Mr G F Thompson’.

 

UDC Housing Committee, 9 November 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 175. Met at allotments part of Cocks Farm. Has been suggested that they be put into gardens of houses on side of Cressing Road nearest railway. Can’t recommend.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 19 November 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 205. Allotments. Preparations now to move holders of allotments at cemetery site to land adjoining cemetery site ‘recently occupied by Mr G F Thompson.’

 

UDC Public Health Committee, 17 December 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

pages 212-213. Collection of house refuse, re July report. Choose scheme 1 and buy a Ford vehicle. Maldon Road tip. Old gravel tip in the allotment field, Maldon Road, rapidly filling. Only another 4 months available. Investigate others.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 19 December 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 229. Of the 29 allotment holders to be displaced from old cemetery field because of Aged persons bungalows [Homefield Road], 13 have asked for alternative plots, and 2 new applications. Ask tenants on Cressing Road if they want any.

200 sheep strayed onto the Maldon Road allotments from adjoining meadow. Extensive damage to ‘green-stuff’ of holders. Ask tenants to approach Clerk to take action.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 16 January 1936 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 249. Allotments Maldon Road. Mr A J Horner’s sheep were the ones that strayed. He complained about Clerk’s officious letter. Committee support the Clerk.

page 250. More on numbers of people for allotments in Rickstones Road.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 13 February 1936 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 290. Layout for 18 allotments adjoining Cemetery submitted. Ask for another layout for 24, with gate to Recreation Ground.

 

UDC Public Health Committee, 15 December 1936

pages 619-620. Allotments. Certificates from Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Schedule of existing allotments, i.e.

Little Elms, part allotments, part arable, 3.36 acres

Braintree Road, 3.42 acres

Maldon Road, 5.48 acres, part allotments, part gravel pit now being worked.

Hoo Hall Rivenhall, 1.40 acres

Another list of land reserved for allotments:

Cuppers Farm to replace temporary ones at Bridge Home, 4.2 acres

Bridge Homes, existing temporary ones, 3.79 acres

Maldon Road, arable, to replace existing temporary allotments, 7.47 acres

Chipping Hill, existing temporary allotments 1.8 acres.

 

UDC Public Health Committee, 16 March 1937 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 716. Allotments. Strutt and Parker agree to small portion of land next Bridge Home being reserved for permanent allotments.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 18 March 1940 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/9)

[page 268] To offer vacant plots in Maldon Road to military as allotments on rent free basis.

 

UDC Housing Committee, 22 April 1940 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/9)

[page 278] Church Street housing site. Undeveloped land adjoining Glebe Crescent. Some let for allotments but 4 acres left and Council obliged to cultivate it. To let to Mr L D Blake of Spring Lodge.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 19 September 1940 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/9)

[page 379] Allotments at Maldon Road. Some not used. Offer for keeping chickens if they are ‘properly fenced in’.

 

UDC Public Health Committee, 11 January 1941 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/9)

[page 458] Sewer damaged, near river in Powers Hall Road allotment field. Broken by enemy action. Excavate by crater. To be repaired.

 

UDC 26 May 1941 page 523 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/5)

(page 524) Re unsatisfied demand for allotments, Ministry of Agriculture has authorised entrance upon land in Collingwood Road belonging to Mrs Peecock. Managed to persuade Mr Morgan to release additional land at Rickstones Road allotment field (Mr M is a market gardener).

 

12 Jun 1941, message Braintree Report Centre to Essex County Control, 05.38/05.42 (ERO C/W/1/2/8)

Further to my Situation report of 05.15 hours, Witham report searched Towers [Powers] Hall End Blunts Hall. No more craters found. Later, further crater on allotments at back of Fyfield [Highfield] Road. [Added in different hand:] ‘?Highfield’

 

UDC Public Health Committee, 6 November 1941 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/9)

[page 668] Completed inspecting railings and recommend the following for inclusion [the table is quoted exactly in these notes].

Cemetery Witham UDC Division fence between cemetery and allotments. Cemetery entrance gates not to be removed

 

UDC Housing Committee, 17 November 1942 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

‘Witham and Rivenhall End Allotment Holders and Garden Society’ complain of damage from cattle, people using the allotments as public footpath, and children climbing fences. Find out if there is a public footpath from Cherry Tree Crossing over the field to Faulkbourne.

 

UDC, 30 November 1942 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/5)

Estates Committee adopted except to alter to read three dead elm trees at far side of Maldon Road allotments instead of at the entrance.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 30 November 1942 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 107] Circular from Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries about allotments. Committee consider Witham is doing all it can.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 14 December 1942 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 114] ‘Witham and Rivenhall End Garden and Allotment Society’ have asked to use Maldon Road Recreation Ground on August Monday next year for ‘Fruit and Vegetable Show and possibly a Fun Fair’. OK subject to conditions.

 

UDC Holidays at Home Week Committee, 9 March 1943 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 148] Agreed to have it Aug 2 to 7. Fruit and Vegetable show to be held on August Monday by the Society and also the Essex Federation of Allotment Societies joining in. Also ‘the local Rabbit Society’ is staging a show, and various other attractions. Large crowd expected. Dance in Public Hall on August Monday evening. Long list of people co-opted onto committee including Mrs S Eccleston, Mrs R Turner, Mrs C De Trense, Miss L Croxall, Mrs V Grape. Clerk to communicate with Messrs Keith Prowse Ltd ‘as to Entertainers and Variety Shows available during the Week’.

 

Finance and General Purposes Committee, 16 March 1943 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 161] ‘Witham and Rivenhall End Garden and Allotment Holders Society. They asked for financial assistance for show on Aug Monday. It is to be some magnitude as Essex Federation of Allotment Societies with over 70 branches and 26,000 members is taking part. Essex Institute of Agriculture also supports, and prominent members of Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will also be present. Also Witham Rabbit Society to have a show ‘open to the Country’ and Essex Garden Produce Committee require space for demonstration, and ditto Ministry of Food. If they have bad weather they could lose money. Agree to support if Ministry says OK.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 19 June 1943 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 202] Allotments generally well cultivated. A few partly uncultivated; consult the owners. Entrance to Maldon Road field and ‘the vacant land immediately adjoining thereto which was formerly used for gravel excavations needs scything’. To be done when possible but ‘the majority of the labour is still engaged out of the district’.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 6 September 1943 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 220] Witham and Rivenhall End Garden and Allotment Holders Society want to hire hall for day on September 25th re ‘Victory Garden and Produce show’. Proceeds to Red Cross Agriculture fund. Just charge overheads.

[page 221] Wartime allotments, Collingwood Road. Mr C W Hodges already occupies one plot by arrangement with Mrs Peecock, has also occupied adjoining piece ‘the subject of part of the Council’s requisition’. Mr Hodges also ‘allowing his fowls to run upon the chase-way leading to the allotments’. Also blocked up top of chaseway though has left room for barrows. Chairman to inspect.

 

UDC Finance and General Purposes Committee, 14 September 1943 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 235] Thanks from Witham and Rivenhall End Garden and Allotment Holders Society for interest in show on 2 August. Quite successful so no need for Council to cover loss.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 3 November 1943 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 258] Land adjoining the Peculiar People’s Chapel. In September, Committee recommended willow trees on river bank and agreed. Also consideration re use for allotments but decided too much trouble.

Maldon Road allotments. Inspected because of complaint about cattle ‘straying and eating the produce thereon’. Justified. The cattle had broken the fence. Has been repaired with ‘second hand barbed wire’.

Church Street allotments to be inspected. Formerly in very bad state.

 

UDC 7 December 1943, in Committee (ERO D/UWi 1/1/5)

Town and Country Planning. ‘The Council at this meeting considered generally the planning of the Urban District, and in particular Witham Town and Silver End. A report of the Surveyor on the Subject was taken into consideration’. Resolved …

(c) ‘In providing for future housing estates of any description proper zones be marked to ensure of recreational and allotment facilities’.

 

UDC Housing Committee, 15 February 1944 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 326] Surveyor’s report. Post War Housing Schemes. Enough land in Church Street and Glebe Crescent already in possession of Council for about 100 houses and 16 bungalows. Normally this would be enough for at least one year’s programme. Rate of building after War uncertain though Government has said ‘four million houses will be required in the 12 years after the War’. But how much at beginning not known. Cost will be higher than before. Unless Local Authorities get help, the rentals will have to be higher than present rentals. Re sewers and water mains, already there at Glebe Crescent and Church Street which would just need extending. Can’t be done just now because land used for agriculture and allotments. If the latter are taken away, alternative allotments will be needed probably.

 

UDC Housing Committee, 13 March 1945 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 504] Church Street allotments. Site may be needed for housing any time. So terminate agreement with the allotment holders and with Mr L D Blake at end of September. Can then be cultivated free by them until needed for housing.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 13 March 1945 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

Allotments, cemetery site. Mr T W Morgan of 147 Cressing Road wishes to give up part of land he hires there. Arrangements for Mr Hugh Page to farm it not yet made because of Mr Morgan’s illness, but hope to arrange shortly.

 

UDC 26 March 1945, page 729 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/5)

Housing Committee, item re. Church Street allotments referred back.

 

UDC Housing Committee, 15 May 1945 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 524] Church Street allotments. Agreements not terminated as agreed before because land not anticipated to be needed before September next.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 15 May 1945 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 527] Witham and Rivenhall End Garden and Allotment Society want the Recreation Ground and Park on 14 July for Flower and Vet Show. Agreed.

 

UDC Housing Committee, 24 September 1945 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 587] Church Street housing. Give notice to quit to allotment holders and the agricultural tenant.

 

John Newnan

John said that in his day at the station (1950s) the station allotments were called ‘Canada’, people would say they were going to Canada. But this probably applied to some on the other side of the line, near the maltings.

 

Ordnance Survey Six Inch Maps, early 1950s

Include “allotment gardens” at:

Between Cemetery, Manor Road in south, and Elm Farm in north (now part of Rickstones playing field)

At the end of Homefield Road

Powershall End, what is now Saxon Drive

At west end of Powershall End, behind the houses on the south.

Hatfield Road, small, next to Bridge Home

Hatfield Road, small, behind houses opposite Bridge Home

Hatfield Road, small, behind Ivy Chimneys

Maldon Road, west side, behind houses, now the southern Sports ground.

 

NB Cut Throat Lane not named as allotments

 

 

Braintree and Witham Times, 6 January 1955

Ringing old year out at parish church; allotment dinner (from Maurice Smith index)

 

Braintree and Witham Times, 23 December 1965

Allotments, lack of interest (from Maurice Smith index, I don’t have any more info.)

 

1980s

O.S. 1:2500 map, nothing marked at the site of  the Cut Throat Lane allotments – it could just have been omitted. Didn’t look at other sites.

 

1990s

O.S. 1:2500 map, Cut Throat Allotments marked as allotments. Didn’t look at other sites.

 

 

Photos

 

Ref Date of photo Description Source
M605 April 1957 Part of air photo of Moat farm etc. taken from south-east. This part includes parts of Powershall End, Chipping Hill, the railway, Guithavon Valley, Collingwood Road and The Avenue, the fields later the Moat farm estate, and the allotments later the site of Saxon Drive. See also M1559-M1568. See link for key map. Horner, Patrick
M1559 April 1957 Part 1 of air photo of Moat farm etc. taken from south-east. This part includes top of Highfields Road including Highfields farm, and part of Powershall End including Spa Place, and part of the allotments which are now the site of Saxon Drive. See also M605 and M606. See link for key map. Horner, Patrick
M1560 April 1957 Part 2 of air photo of Moat farm etc. taken from south-east. This part includes fields now part of Moat farm housing estate, and part of the allotments which are now the site of Saxon Drive, between Highfields Road and the railway. Also part of the railway viaduct. See also M605 and M606. See link for key map. Horner, Patrick
M1564 April 1957 Part 6 of air photo of Moat farm etc. taken from south-east. This part includes Chipping bridge, 26 Chipping Hill, 28 Chipping Hill, 30 Chipping Hill, and church hall, west and of Powershall End including mill and Spring Lodge and 6 Powershall End, track to Faulkbourne, and part of allotments later site of Saxon Drive. See also M605 and M606. See link for key map. Horner, Patrick
M1565 April 1957 Part 7 of air photo of Moat farm etc. taken from south-east. This part includes Chippimg bridge, west side of Chipping Hill including Earlsmead and Pinkham’s glove factory, Moat farm chase including the farm and the bridge, the railway, river, and part of the allotments later site of Saxon Drive. See also M605 and M606. See link for key map. Horner, Patrick
M1787 1954 View from back of 128 Highfields Road to Chipping Hill, including house garden. The house at 128 was built the year before, in 1953, on an empty plot, for the Lepper family. Includes allotments in foreground behind garden fence. On extreme left, seen through window, is Spring Lodge (3 Powershall End). Left of centre in middle distance are the semi-detached houses at 6 Powershall End and 8 Powershall End, with Chipping bridge in centre. Just below horizon, towards the left perhaps 7 Church Street, left of centre the Vicarage, right of centre, parish church, to right of that, 26 Chipping Hill (left side of green), then on far right, 24 Chipping Hill and 22 Chipping Hill. Lepper, Helen and Alfred
M1788 1954 View from back of 128 Highfields Road to Chipping Hill, including house garden. The house at 128 was built the year before, in 1953, on an empty plot, for the Lepper family. Includes allotments in foreground behind garden fence. On extreme left are the semi-detached houses at 6 Powershall End and 8 Powershall End, with Chipping bridge in centre. On horizon, towards the left the Vicarage, above the bridge, parish church, to right of that, 26 Chipping Hill (left side of green), 24 Chipping Hill and 22 Chipping Hill (behind the green), end wall of 55 Chipping Hill on right hand side of road, and to right backs of houses at Chipping Hill. Extreme right is Moat farm house. Lepper, Helen and Alfred
M1819 24th September 1966 Opening of new Fire Station, Hatfield Road. Seen from top of tower, looking down on back of fire station. Allotments in background. By table on left are Alderman G E Rose, chairman of County Fire Brigade Committee (standing) and Councillor Ted Smith, chairman of Witham Urban District Council (with chain, in middle). Seated in second row from front, 4th from right, is Frank Ager (just to right of lady with hat sitting behind him). See also photo M390. Colin Ager via Brian Knight.
M2239 1954-1965 St Nicholas church and Chipping Hill, seen from the allotments where Saxon Drive has since been built. Houses visible to right of tall trees are what is now 28 Chipping Hill (formerly Mole End), 26 Chipping Hill, and end of 55 Chipping Hill (bare). See link 1 for information about numbering, dating, etc. Scott-Mason, John

 

 

References to allotments in oral history interviews.

 

Mrs Edith Brown, born 1895

Tape 5

Q:        What, did he grow vegetables and things more or ….?

Mrs Brown:  Yea, well, we had a big allotment and he used to grow his celery at home (Q:  Yea.) erm, used to have a flower garden all the way down, wide piece, and round like that, both sides (Q:  Yea.) and then at the back of the, then he had tall chrysanths, then at the back he used to have a celery, two celery trenches, one either side, then he used to grow white and pink celery, they used to be them days, that was lovely.  Course, we had, course we had to take all our celery up weekends, then he had the allotment for all the vegetables he grew, you know, grew all his own vegetables, I forget where the allotment was then, been so many years ago.  (Mrs S:  Wasn’t it down where Mr North ….)  Down Maldon Road somewhere.  (Mrs S: Not North, Mr ….the shoe, the shoemaker, Horrocks[?].) [Hollick]  Down there somewhere, Grace, couldn’t tell you exactly where it was now, I forget, but I know we had a big allotment, (Mrs S:  Yes.) used to grow stuff for all the winter, (Mrs S:  Course there’s so many houses down there isn’t there?) and store it all.  Hey?  (Mrs S:  So many houses built down there now.)  Mm, he used to clamp all his erm, oh, dear, (Mrs S:  Potatoes.) no, not potatoes (Mrs S:  Beetroot.) yes, beetroot and parsnips, used to clamp all them up with straw and earth (Q:  Yea, yea.) and then you just got ‘em out when you want ‘em.

Q:        So you wouldn’t have to buy much then?

Mrs Brown:  Mother, I don’t think my mother had to buy, we didn’t, did we?  (Mrs S:  No, not really [???].)  My husband, we had (Mrs S:  [???], Church Street.) we erm, we never bought a thing hardly, now and again we’d buy a swede wouldn’t we?  (Mrs S:  No[?] swede.)  But otherwise we never bought no potatoes or onions and everything used to be, you know, kept and, my husband used to go Sunday mornings cut the greens for the dinner all fresh.  We had Brussels sprouts or, all sorts and Mr Springett done the same.

Tape 6

Mrs Brown:  No, not really, not a lot. He don’t like gardening. (Q: Oh, yes.) Had a great big allotment and he had a lovely garden at the house, we had a big piece each side, a lovely flower garden, so much flower garden and so much at the back, he used to grow all, grow celery and that at the back of the flowers, he used to have, like high chrysanths all the way round and then that, about that space was all sorts of flowers, we had some lovely [???] didn’t we and he used to have all crocuses and all sorts, lilies, my mum had them coloured lilies with the spots on (Mrs S: Tiger lilies weren’t they called?.) yea, lovely they were, she loved her flowers and little rose trees and he used to do all the gardening and he had a big allotment as well (Q: Mm, That would take lot [???].) grow, he used to grow, he used to do all our shoe mending. (Q: Oh, did he?) Mm, dad did, yes, my husband did too, he ….

 

Mrs Edith Raven, born 1893

Tape 10

Mrs Raven:  Yes, and I was praying all the way down that wall, that somebody’d give me a ha’penny. But they didn’t. So I took these beans back and I said, Mrs Doole said they’d be ‘Another ha’penny, dear’, so I said ‘Well, may I bring that in the morning?’ Because she knew us, you see, so she said ‘Yes, dear, on your way to school’. So when I got, I could see Father coming off that garden field where those houses are now. Up that hill, you know? You know where the Community …. ? [garden field was allotments where Saxon Drive now is].

Q:        Oh, I think I know, yes. Where the allotments were, yes.

Mrs R: Yes. They were the allotments. Well, we had forty rod on there.

Q:        That’s opposite the Community Centre you mean. (Mrs R: Yes) Yes.

Tape 13

Mrs Raven   Pop had got a bit of allotment over there and there was a man digging his bit next door. So this man said to Pop. He said ‘There’s a funeral on today.’ So Pop said ‘Oh is there?’ So Pop said ‘I wonder who that is?’ So this man said ‘That’s Herbert from the Labour [Exchange]’ So Pop said ‘I hope he’s got his cards with him!’ [Both laugh] I never forgot that, I thought that was dreadful.

Mrs Raven: And there was a pond up in this, um, up in this place where they’ve built those houses and that allotments, there [Saxon Drive, probably]. And he fell in there once or twice. They’d throw their bits and pieces. They knew he was soft enough to go and try and get ‘em, and go on the ice and he’d go. He’s dead and gone now. But you ….

 

Miss Ada Smith, born 1897

Tape 14

Q:         Did they used to grow vegetables and things?

Miss Smith: Oh, yes. (Q: In the garden?) In the allotment too, yes, I remember all the vegetables.

Q:         It must have been hard work, where did you have the allotment?

Miss Smith: Over the rail, by the railway, each side of the railway, main line railway, the allotments.

 

Mrs Elsie Hammond, born c.1900

Tape 23

Mrs Hammond:      Oh well, that’s funny thing, but my mother used to lay on a big meal, in a way. Make a pot of tea. Have cups of tea. There might be soused mackerel. This time of year, there’d be salads and, I, I think that was her best meal of the day because she’d been busy in the daytime. I’ve always thought that. But or, beetroot and cheese, all that sort of thing. We used to live alright like that. You see, but that’d probably be produce really from the garden, or the allotment.

Q:       You had an allotment, did you?

Mrs Hammond:      My father had an allotment, yes. That was a railway allotment. It was a piece of ground, it’s still there; it’s derelict. It’s the other side of the main line. We used to have to go over there to do it.

Q:       Did you have to help him?

Mrs Hammond:      I wasn’t, I was never, only to pick the stuff. Pick the beans, and pick up potatoes, or drop them, drop the potatoes in the first place. He used to have the long, rows and we used to drop them in, you see. And then that was bean picking, or, he didn’t grow peas cause we used to go pea picking. And they used to wangle enough home, so we didn’t used to. [laughing] Used to put some in the bucket with a coat on the top. [laughing] So they never had to grow peas, but all the other vegetables, cause they couldn’t really buy them, you see. Couldn’t afford to buy them. That’s how, people used to work their sets, you see. Potatoes, they used to do an exchange. People didn’t, couldn’t pay out a lot, they use to exchange, one with another. So they’d have a change of seed. It was the only way to work it.

 

Bert (Jim) Godfrey, born 1906

Tape 27

They had quite a big garden down Bridge Street, yes. Running up the back there, quite a long way. And then, where the fire station is, that was all an allotment field. He used to have a plot on there as well. Where he’d spend –he’d spend a lot of his spare time there.

 

Lucy Croxall, born 1903 and Eva Hayes, born 1893

Tape 29

Eva Hayes:   No, we had an allotment.

Lucy Croxall:         Our allotment, Father’s and your allotment was where Podsbrook is. All that belonged to Blyths the millers.

Eva Hayes:   Where the chapel is, there was a mill there. (LC: A flourmill) A flour mill, you see and of course where Alan McKirdy lived, that was their house, private house (LC: Lovely, it was) and all Podsbrook, all that piece was their garden. And Bernard the son lived where they live now, Peyton/Payton, lived over at Peyton. Bernard lived there and he didn’t want all that extra land so he let Father, Superintendent Lennon, (LC: The policeman) Mr Edwards at the White Hart and Mr Howlett, the organist, all had a piece (LC: (talking over) All four had that garden between them). I planted, I was going to say thousands, hundreds of bulbs in that field.

Lucy Croxall:         So now we say if any flowers come up at Podsbrook we believe they all belong to us. (Q laughs) Lovely garden wasn’t it?

 

Mrs Annie Ralling, born 1900

Tape 36

Q:       What about vegetables ?

Mrs Ralling  Well people had their own garden fields didn’t they. In those days everybody used to grown their own garden things. Like up Hatfield Road you know where the Fire Station is that was all allotments.

Q:       Usually it was the mother that did the shopping ?

Mrs Ralling: Yes, mostly, or they’d send the children. As I was saying, they used to have their own allotments, didn’t they, and gardens and they’d grow all their own vegetables often and that sort of thing. Funnily enough it is only just about a week ago there used to be two little men, you know I used to think they were like the dwarfs, they used to live in the town and they had a garden field or an allotment up Hatfield Road and I used to take their surplus [in her shop} and only about a fortnight ago I heard that the sister died. The two little men they used to have like a box on wheels, a barrow and they’d bring their marrows and cabbages and things like that. (Another voice ?) Of course they’ve built on them allotments now haven’t they. Yes all those houses up Hatfield Road.

 

Mr Maurice Greatrex, born 1903

Tape 49

Mr Greatrex:          No, father didn’t have time to do that. Grandfather wanted him to do the work here. (Q: I see, yes.) My father, he worked all the hours that he could in that business. Really worked hard all the time. When he wasn’t working in the business he was trying to run an allotment where all these houses are just down the road here. That glebe land that was sold by the Church [Saxon Drive]. Well we had an allotment on that, 20 foot[rod?] allotment on there which father used to keep going as well and, ‘cos there were eight of us in the family you see (Q: Quite.) and wages weren’t very high. They weren’t anything like they are nowadays. And so he had a job to keep things going.

 

Mr and Mrs Baxter,

Tape 80

Mrs B: We had several bombs drop about here, you know. Because up there – now where is it? Powershall Road – along Powershall Road because …
Mr B: Yes, I had an allotment up there.

Mrs B: That was all allotments.

Mr B: There was two bombs – they made a – they reckoned they were fastened together with a chain. There was a hole like that and a hole – you could put a house in them. In the two holes. Right in the allotments.

Mrs B: And that was our allotment and our neighbour’s allotment.

Mr Walter Peirce, born 1908

Tape 92

Mr Peirce:    …. [see picture 1] Highfields Road. Well, this was where the running pump, the running pump was, and back there was the dam, was the ramp that used to supply Blunts Hall and Highfields farm, up here. Well, they’re all gone now, ain’t they? (Q: Yes) See, well, that was all fields when I was a boy. This was the allotment. That’s all built upon [Saxon Drive]. (Q: That’s right) And then, um. there’s some houses, up here, Mr Richards the builder bought that one, and then there was, and then, then there was a couple of small little houses, and then you come into, um, well, Spa, Highfields Road, ’cos Spa Road has been built alongside, ain‘t it? (Q: Yeah). You still got the old Highfields Road, but that was always there but then um, when I um ….

Mr Peirce:    Now this may be interesting or may not [looking at photo, see picture 2]. That was when Crittall’s was built [Crittall’s window factory, Braintree Road]. (Q: Really). They were the workmen for Crittalls when that was built. ’Cos that used to be an allotment belonged to the Co-op. (Q: Oh did it? I see). Yes, if it hadn’t have been for the Co-op Crittall’s wouldn’t have been in Witham. (Q: Really, why’s that?) The Co-op sold the, well, Mrs Susannah Vaux, Bawtrees, and one or two of the …. noble, general, gentry people of Witham, they tried to keep Crittall’s out. They didn’t want no fact– didn’t want no factory in Witham at all. There was Pinkham’s factory. You know, the gentry people of Witham, they tried to keep Crittall’s out. They didn’t want no fact– didn’t want no factory in Witham at all. There was Pinkham’s factory. You know, the glove making factory. But they didn’t want no factory. But unfortunately, or fortunately, the Co-op sold the allotment to Crittall’s and that’s how Crittall’s started ….

Q:       Why the, was the Co-op very active – did it have a lot of land then, the Co-op?

Mr P Peirce: No, it only had that (Q: Oh, I see) that, all that allotment what run right up the back where the Co-op, that little Co-op, there was a little Co-op shop, wasn’t there [62 Braintree Road]? (Q: Yes). Well, all that land, right down to, to um, Albert Road. Matter of fact some of them houses in Albert, them houses in Albert Road belonged to the Co-op till the people bought them.

Mr Peirce:    Nineteen ten. Now this is my father on the wagon [see picture 6]. Now this (Q: Is it really?) Well I, I worked there for a little while in nineteen twenty six, or sev- yes, in nineteen sev, in nineteen twenty seven. I used to go round there with the horse and cart and I used to work at Bulford mill and all that. You see, well now, that’s the water mill and that’s the power mill, steam mill. (Q: Oh, I see). You see, now, that’s where the Evangelic church is, isn’t it? Now this here, was the allotment belonged to them, er, beehives and all that. Er, That’s where all the flats or something are built down there, ain’t they? [Podsbrook] Maisonettes. Ain’t they? (Q: I think, yes) Where you come ….

Mr Peirce:    Well, that, the other houses that side back on to it. Well, that used to be the cart lodge for Canon Ingles and Canon [i.e. present Church hall] (Q: Was it) And then where the, opposite the Spring Community Centre (Q: Yes) was allotments [now Saxon Drive]. Five shillings a year, my father used to have it. Twenty rod. Well, you paid the five shillings, and a potato. And you had a little bit of supper, all the, um, holders of the allotment. (Q: Oh I see,) You know, I told you (Q: Yes, yes,) where the footpath went through that allotment, and you went and paid it, Mr Hodges was the man, that took the money . He lived right, the other side of the railway line, near the Witham Creamery is, but a bomb dropped on it during the War, didn’t it? Blew it all to pieces. But they’ve rebuilt a new house, didn’t they [probably 20 Highfields Road]. Well, that was the man who used to take the money.

 

Mrs Hicks

Tape 99

Q: What did you used to make them with?

Mrs H: Great big stone bottles with a handle on the side. We used to make rhubarb but I don’t like that, and dandelion. Ooh that was lovely. Better than any whisky if you keep it a year. I made some of that once and blackberry, damson, all sorts I used to make. I don’t like, that used to be rhubarb, really, because they grew that on the allotment, and you see that didn’t cost anything. Only just the sugar, well the sugar wasn’t only about sixpence a pound then. You could do what you liked.
Ted Mott

Tape 103

Mr M: I used to have a piece of an allotment down Maldon Road when they had allotments down there, from up here. Because it was a family piece of allotment. A good piece you see. I used to trundle off down there with Keith on the front on a Saturday morning, stay down there till dinner time and come home. Just have an early breakfast and go down. He used to do a Sunday paper round, go up the shop here. I used to help him down as far as where the allotments were and then do the allotment. He used to come back up there.
Walter Peirce

Tape 110

Well, I used to go to the matinee, Saturday afternoon, three ha’pence. And this was after the war, after the First War, of course. And there was a lot of horses about then, see. And there was a big goods yard then, ain’t got that now, used to be a big goods yard wound by Cooper Tabers, seed merchants. Well, my father had this allotment and he said he’d give me a ha’penny for a barrow-load of horse manure. Well, we used to have Tate & Lyle sugar boxes, that’s what they were then. Used to get them at the grocer’s on a pair of perambulator wheels. With two handles on the side, that was [???]. Then we used to go along the road with a shovel and brush and fill it up. Well, I know I used to take it up the allotment and push it on a heap. So Father used to say ‘‘How many loads you took today, boy?’ ‘Oh, three of them’. ‘Three?’ ‘Yes, three’. That was three ha’pence. I could go to the pictures couldn’t I?

Tape 125

And then you come round the bend and that is Cressing Road. Well, all that field belonged to John Brown. So the Witham Council bought it, didn’t they? And they bought all that field and then they bought this field here, what’s called Homefield. That was my allotment. I had two bits of allotment there. That was our allotment, you see and that’s called Homefield. Well, all that used to belong to John Brown and the Council bought it all.
Mr Ken Miller

Tape 187

Well Henry’s father was a great poacher, well not poacher, but rabbiter and lived by the gun sort of thing, and there was a hare that used to elude him in the garden fields, of course the allotment holders wanted it caught because of the damage it was doing. And down opposite Spring Lodge, there was a five bar wooden gate, I can see it now, and, into the allotments, and this gate was always open for people coming and going on their bikes and trolleys and what have you. And this hare always got away across the road, cause it was, it was all fields across the road then, and the hare’d get away. So one day he shut the gate, and the hare ran full belt into the gate, and he got it, killed it. And Henry always used to spin this tale, and how his father got that, cause he was a great big tall bloke, and as I can remember he used to call on his bike, and, he was a bricklayer for Crittall’s, and I used to sharpen his chisels for him.

 

 

 

Mr John Newman

Tape 191

[re Station Maltings]

For some reason that little bit of ground was always known as Canada (Questioner: Known as what?) Canada. Yes, that piece of ground just there was always known as Canada. There were some allotments there as well. ‘Oh’, he says, ‘I’ve got an allotment on Canada’, so you knew where his allotment was.

 

 

 

http://www.inbrief.co.uk/neighbour-disputes/allotments.htm

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/10774314/Allotments-being-sold-off-for-development-despite-government-pledges.html

 

 

Email from Richard Pilbrow

richardpilbrow+allot-sec

 

Dear Janet,

 

It has been suggested that you may be able to help us in our research concerning how and when the Cut Throat Lane Allotment site was set up, by whom, and whether or not it directly replaced much older allotments on the other side of the main railway line which we believe were statutory allotments.

 

If you are willing and able to assist us it will be very much appreciated.  Our enquiry arises because Braintree District Council in their efforts to drive down operating costs are encouraging us to self-manage the Cut Throat Lane allotments on a long lease.  That is fine in principle, but they state that the site is currently classified as “temporary allotments” and they intend to refer to the allotments in the lease as “Community Land”.  They include a clause that allows them to take back the land after giving us 12 months notice, and excludes any obligation on the Council’s part to seek to find us an alternative site should they do so.  We believe that the Cut Throat Lane allotments, by their historical associations, are statutory allotments and should be referred to in the lease as “allotment gardens” and not as “community Land”.  Should we be able to prove that the allotments are “statutory” not “temporary”, whilst the Council can still take back the land by giving 12 months notice, it becomes under an obligation to try to find a suitable alternative land for use as allotments (which is commonly now achieved via section 106 planning agreements when new housing estates are developed).

 

We are very wary of entering into the contract as proposed since we believe that if we should do so, the land could quite easily be appropriated for any alternative use that the Council can demonstrate serves a “community purpose”, and deplete even further the land that has been lost to development in the Witham area.

 

Certainly the Cut Throat Lane site replaced others in Witham, including the old site on the opposite side of the railway which was almost certainly statutory allotment land.  We do know that what is now Cut Throat Lane Allotments was previously a seed trials ground occupied by Thomas Cullen & Sons.  Cullens closed their Witham operation (after mergers or takeovers) in 1983.  However it appears that allotment gardens use of the land that is now Cut Throat Lane allotments commenced before that year as Ordnance Survey maps show the area as “allotment gardens” in 1978 (but it was still seemingly Cullens seed trial fields in 1971).

 

 

We would like to be able to read Council Minutes dating back to the time the old allotments on the opposite side of the railway were taken back by the Council to be developed for industrial/commercial use (what is now part of Eastways Industrial Estate).  This may have been under Witham Council control, or under Braintree District Council (following the Local Government Act 1972 when Town Council land holdings transferred to District Councils).  We also would like to be able to read contemporary Council Minutes from the time the Cut Throat Lane site was appropriated for allotment use.  It appears to have been part of a development deal for the whole portion of former agricultural land that now forms the housing estate bordered by Conrad Road, Forest Road, Cut Throat Lane and the Branch railway line from Witham to Braintree.

 

If you do feel you can help us with some dates to narrow down our search through Council Minutes it will be so much appreciated.  If there is evidence in your possession that we could photograph or photocopy that would be even better.

 

We have not met but I am more than happy to come and meet you if discussion would be the best way forward.

 

Kind regards,

 

Richard Pilbrow

 

Secretary, Witham Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Association.

 

Copy addressees are our Chairman, Richard Playle, and Treasurer, David Youngman

 

 

Allotments

 

Oddments

 

How big is an allotment? (www.nsalg.org.uk/allotment-info/ )

An allotment is traditionally measured in rods (perches or poles), an old measurement dating back to Anglo-Saxon times. 10 poles is the accepted size of an allotment, the equivalent of 250 square metres or about the size of a doubles tennis court.

 

1841 Tithe map

Cut Throat Lane – field belonged to Freeborns farm that is now allotments.

 

1841

ERO Accession A5404. ‘Bramston scrapbooks’, Book 1, greenish cover, page 19 of notes

Poster

‘To the Poor Inhabitants of Witham. Notice is hereby given that it is intended to divide a Field, near Chipping Hill Bridge, called Knee Field, into allotments of garden ground not exceeding 20 rods. Any person wishing to hire an Allotment of 10 or 20 rods is requested to apply immediately to Mr Wade at the National School, who will set down the applicant’s name, and give him information   ‘ [information not specified]. Occupation on 1 November next .John Bramston, Oct 1841.

Pro-forma

‘Witham Field Gardens. Allotment no —, — Rods of Ground. Yearly Rent —s —d  and one Potato’.

Conditions, include:

‘No Work … On Lords Day or Christmas Day or Good Friday’

Not to under-let without permission.

No buildings or trees allowed.

Keep neat.

No ploughing.

Not more than half of ground to have potatoes.

Gates kept locked.

No children except to work. Damages ‘by them to be made good by the Parent’.

If dishonest or injury to other tenant, or convicted of any offence against law, or reach rules, landlord can take possession.

To be signed and witnessed.

 

1842-72

Surrey History Centre: Earls of Onslow of Clandon Park, Estate Papers

Earls of Onslow of Clandon Park, West Clandon: Estate papers of the 4th and 5th Earls of Onslow

Catalogue Ref.1320

Allotment hiring card for Witham Field Gardens, with conditions and record of lettings 1847-1872 – ref.1320/418/5? – date: [c1887]
From web site of A2A, Access to Archives: Http://www.a2a.pro.gov.uk/search/docframe.asp?styletype=xsl&i=110&filename=xsl\A2A_com.xsl&com=1

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Saturday, November 12 1842

Corn Markets higher, but the Cattle fair to day at Chelmsford was dull indeed, but very few sales at very low prices, but probably not so low as they seem likely to settle down to. I find that in North Essex the farmers are determined to keep pace in lowering poor mens wages with the Cattle and Corn. Labour there is now 14d per day! Being 8/ per week!! And the allotments let to labourers (being prohibited in many instances from growing ??? straw crops) is charge to them 6d per rod or £4 per acre. The farmers who underlet in this way giving for the same land 25/ or 30/ per acre! Our labour here is paid at the rate of 11/ per week by the day with small beer. By the by some of my neighbours lay claim to an excessive amount of charity in letting out these allotments to Agricultural labourers. Our Vicar the Reverend Mr. Bramston held his rent audit in his Coach House last Friday evening. The Entertainment consisted of roast mutton (alias baked), plum-puddings, ale and Bacca. The number of Tenants 70 (or about that). Bramston presided with his Curate Mr. Fagun as vice. The quantity of land in each holding is ?  rods for which these poor people pay 8d per rod!! Which is at the rate of £5:6.8 per acre!!! The Landlord paying Tithe Rate and other outgoings. The parson in taking his charity garment out of this affair will have but a thin covering for his sins!

In his predecessors time 6 years ago this land was let to a farmer for 30/ per acre.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Sunday September 14th, 1845

The accounts from all quarters state the potato crop to be most destructively diseased. I have taken up one piece of Pink eyed Kidneys and not one in ten are sound. I have some I hope much better but some which were taken up a fortnight since supposed to be unaffected are beginning to decay and I have great apprehensions that the failure will be much greater than is feared. This must prove a heavy calamity to the Poor as the potato crop in the allotment gardens is to them of much moment.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Wednesday September 24th, 1845

Weather yesterday & today fine with sharp frosts in the morning which has cut down the potatoes when they were not previously destroyed by the murrains – I have determined not to take up mine for some time. I think they will be riper in the ground, such of them as are not rotten. In the allotments or field gardens of the poor I calculate that two thirds of the crop is destroyed and I very much fear that those which appear sound are not so and that they will rot in a few weeks. The new varieties appear to me to suffer least. Some of our old sorts have entirely perished from the disease or murrain. At present if well steamed with a little salt they agree with my sows & pigs but they hardly eat them raw. It is now said that this disease made its appearances in some districts last year and that it may prove fatal in following years.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Thursday October 9th, 1845

Rain at intervals during the day, which being our ploughing match & meeting for prizes for cottage gardens, allotments etc. dampened the proceedings in the field at Mr Hutley. But few ladies could attend. We dined afterwards at White Hart Lord Raleigh in the Chair. A smart speaking  conversation on farming & matters connected with the society followed in the evening. Quite enough talkers. Farmers can make speeches such as their ancestors little dreamed of.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Wednesday January 7th, 1846

This has been a mild, cheerful day like April, the winds of December quite hushed – not so the political world. Meetings in favour of Corn Laws continue to be held in various places but the high tone of the actors in them is fast coming down & meetings for a repeal (total) gain strength & power every day. At a village in Wiltshire a meeting in the evening of the labourers has been held of which a full report in the Times of this day. They assembled in the road & a labourer was called to the Chair. Resolutions were moved & seconded in a regular manner with speeches by labourers & if the Tale they told be true a more monstrous system of oppression is not to be found in History. One circumstance particularly requires notice namely that allotments let to the poor pay at least double rents to the same land let to common tenants. The same occurs here our Vicar Mr Bramston let land to the poor at the rate of £5 per acre!! By our previous vicar this land was let to a farmer for 30/. Lord Rayleigh also lets a field in this parish to the poor for upwards of £5 per acre. This is called charity forsooth!! I wonder if the Parson can find a passage in the Bible to sanction this.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Wednesday, March 10, 1847

A very sharp frost this morning and all the drain pipes made these two last days frozen & destroyed, & my men today have suspended work. The spring vegetables Brocoli lettuce &c are fast perishing under this severe weather which added to the potato failure presses heavily upon the poor labourer who cultivates his allotment piece & for wh. here he commonly pays a double rent to the Landlord, that is double what a tenant farmer pays. Wheaten bread is now well nigh our only resource for food.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Friday, April 30, 1847

Corn Markets at Chelmsford today firm. I sold one parcel of red wheat at 84/- & another at 83/-. Our labourers almost literally live upon bread. No potatoes are left & cold late spring has destroyed much of the Cabbage tribe in their garden allotments. Many are hungry & half fed. This has however been a favorable week although not warm for the growth of vegetation. Moderate showers are more suitable to vegetation than hasty & heavy rains.

 

Dr Dixon’s diary, Sunday, September 26, 1847

The Anniversarys of the Agricultural Societys are now being held in this & other counties.  In some cases their meetings are entirely devoted to a public distribution of prizes to labourers & servants embracing every variety of farming & domestic engagements. & for the cultivation of garden allotments &c. In others prizes to farmers for best roots, cattle &c. Any common object which brings the different classes of society has a beneficial tendency but it unfortunately happens that Landlord & Tenants frequently meet only on these occasions in a Social Manner for many Landlords employ agents to make bargains for occupying land as well as to take rents getting away as much as possible from all intercourse with the parties with whose interests they are so much complicated & then again farmers keep as much aloof from their labourers & thus all parties try to break asunder the links which ought to bind them together.

 

 

UDC Building Committee, 21 March 1911, page 33 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/1)

Mr Blood be asked to name price for part of the former allotment field at Chipping Hill [this for building cottages].

 

UDC Building Committee, 24 March 1911, page 34 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/1)

Mr Blood offered frontage of the old allotment field in Church Street at £75 per acre. [this for building cottages].

 

30 January 1917, page 768, D/UWi 1/4/2 Urban District Council Letter Book

Council has considered extension of land for cultivation. Society’s field Pains Haven is suitable Do Society intend to cultivate it?

To Mr F Simpson, Secretary, Witham Co-op.

 

UDC 25 June 1917 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/3)

page 389. To get two sprayers for potatoes to prevent disease, for use of allotment holders. Invite applications for spraying at 3d per rod.

 

UDC 28 January 1918 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/3)

page 431. Letter from Essex War Agricultural Committee re ‘cultivation of as much land as possible in allotments’. No action necessary.

 

Essex Weekly News, 1 February 1918

page 4, col 3. Witham Urban District Council meeting.

Allotments. Captain Abrey proposed Council should use land purchased for cemetery, for allotments. Cemetery not required for years. Mr Garrett seconded. Chairman said notice required.

 

Essex Weekly News, 22 February 1918

page 6, col 3. Potato spraying. Mr F Griffiths from Food Production Department. Address in Congregational schoolroom. Mr E Smith presided. Recommended allotment holders etc to spray crops. Great increase in production would ensue.

 

UDC, 25 February 1918 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/3)

pages 437-38. Discussion how best to cultivate cemetery field, e.g. allotments. Decided to ask ‘Messrs Crittall if they would let their field in Braintree Road to the Council for purposes of allotments for duration of the war’.

 

Essex Weekly News, 1 March 1918

page 5, col 5. Witham Urban District Council Meeting, Mr P Hutley in chair.

Allotments. Mr Abrey moved rescinding decision not to use three acres of cemetery land for allotments. He approached by men who wanted allotments, and thought they should be encouraged. Mr W Taber seconded. Mr W Pinkham against – thought wrong to let – better to cultivate it themselves. Mr J E Smith agreed. Resolution defeated by chairman’s casting vote. Mr Pinkham proposed Committee appointed to cultivate the field . Carried by same vote. Re allotments, decided to ask Crittall Manufacturing Co to allow their building site at Chipping Hill to be used. Pinkham, Taber and Smith appointed as Allotment Committee.

 

UDC 25 March 1918 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/3)

page 445. ‘Read letter from Mr W Gardner of 12th inst. as to 7 acres of land of the Crittall Manufacturing Company Limited which was available for allotments.’ Ask press to record facts in their reports.

 

UDC 29 April 1918, Annual Meeting (ERO D/UWi 1/1/3)

page 452. Allotments. Interview with Mr Jacques Inspector of allotments from Food Production Department, Whitehall, and ‘inspection of Pans Haven field. Mr Gardner (agent for Messrs Crittall, the owners) also attended and stated that Messrs Crittall had received permission of the Government to commence building on the field at any time and he had received instructions to provide storage in the neighbourhood for the machinery etc which was ready. Also that arrangements had been made with the Great Eastern Railway Company to construct a Railway Siding’. Agreed that to explain to Mr J that Council willing to hire but would have to be short notice.

 

30 April 1918, page 963, D/UWi 1/4/2 Urban District Council Letter Book, 30 April 1918, page 963, D/UWi 1/4/2 Urban District Council Letter Book

To ‘Inspector Food Production Dept, Ipswich.’

Have seen Messrs Crittall’s agent (‘Mr Walter Gardner of this town’). Confirmed Messrs Crittall have Government permit to proceed with building on field, ‘which they may be obliged to exercise at any time, and that the Great Eastern Railway have undertaken to construct a siding from their line into the Works immediately Messrs Crittall request them to do so. He also stated that the plant and machinery, and a good part of the joinery, were already completed for erection’. He has tried to let it without much success, a few allotments only. Council willing to hire it if felt right to cultivate.

To ‘Inspector Food Production Dept, Ipswich.’

 

UDC Allotments Committee, 13 February 1920, page 30 [first one of this Committee noticed] (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Application by resident in Chipping Hill for allotments. Mr H T Isted, representative of Lord Rayleigh, attended. Allotment Holders deputation of five also attended. They had named part of Moat Farm. They refused pieces in Highfields Road and near the Cemetery field. Deputation insisted on Council acquiring Moat Fm land under compulsory powers. Mr Isted suggested Mr J E Smith and his son Mr L E Smith should attend at Terling tomorrow at 10 a.m. to confer with Hon E G Strutt.

[continued on p 34] Application of residents in Maldon Road for allotments considered. Mr Bawtree willing to sell his field in Maldon Road now occupied by Mr Sorrell for £500. This considered excessive. Mr Pinkham to meet him.

Adopted

 

UDC Allotments Committee, 24 February 1920, page 32 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Letter from Mr H F Bawtree. After consultation with brother would sell field for £420, and if Council accepted would give Mr Sorrell notice. Agreed to accept if purchase price not more that £400.

Letter from Mr Isted. Mr Smith agreed to release the part of Moat farm required for allotments, ‘leaving it to the generosity of Mr Strutt in some way to make it up to him’. But Mr Smith said hadn’t had offer. Clerk to write to Lord Rayleigh about alternative land for Mr Smith.

Adopted

 

UDC Allotments Committee, 27 February 1920, page 35 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Mr Bawtree agreed to sell Maldon Road land for £400 and Mr Sorrell would relinquish. Agreed to purchase.

Re Chipping Hill, Mr L E Smith had letter; Mr Strutt would let him have Lenny’s Field if he would give up field at Moat Farm for allotments. But would have to wait till Michaelmas because Mr Strutt wanted to take crop at Lenny’s. But places in hands of council subject to compensation, and fence against cattle on either side of plot.

Chairman directed to see Housing Commissioner to urge confirmation of Compulsory Order re part of Cocks Farm as soon as possible, to enable Council to offer part of that to Committee.

Adopted

 

UDC Allotments Committee, 24 March 1920, page 42 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Maldon Road. Resolved to plough and disk harrow it. Then mark it up in 10 rod plots. No person to have more than one plot at present. Rent to be 8d a rod. Notice in Maldon Road to invite applications. Letter read from ‘the Witham and District Allotments Society’ suggesting field in Maldon Road be taken over by Society from Council  Decided not to entertain it.

Adopted

 

UDC Allotments Committee, 23 July 1920, page 56 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Complaints about cattle which ‘run into the Maldon Road allotment field from the road’. Gate and fence recommended.

Mr Pinkham had seen Mr S C Mayhew, Secretary of Witham and District Allotments Society, who said his Society required further land for allotments. Resolved to negotiate with Mr W Taber re field adjoining Cemetery field.

 

UDC Finance Committee, 29 May 1922, page 144 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Some moneys written off, i.e. owed for use of ambulance and for allotments.

 

UDC Roads Committee, 25 January 1924, page 274 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Allotment holders offered picked stones. Resolved to buy them for improving road leading to Brown’s Maltings. But don’t pay the holders whose rents are in arrears.

Adopted

 

UDC Estates Committee, 27 June 1924, page 321 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/2)

Some of Maldon Rd allotment land not used. A B Aldham offered to take on lease, at back of his premises, or to offer. Agreed to offer lease.

Adopted except for lease of allotment land, referred back

 

UDC Estates Committee, 22 January 1930 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/4)

page 322 Looking for allotment land to make up for what taken for housing in Guithavon Road. Mr Isted for Strutt and Parker would let 4 or 5 acres being part of field used as allotments next to Bridge Home, at back of and adjoining their field at present used for allotments. Negotiate.

 

Braintree and Witham Times, 31 January 1930, page 4

Urban District Council:

Guithavon Road estate. Mr Hodges wanted to buy his piece of allotment. Can’t because would interrupt building but would sell him ‘the spare piece of ground containing a disused gravel pit’.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 19 February 1930 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/4)

Don’t continue with hiring of land referred to before for allotments.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 18 February 1931 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/5)

page 142. Letter received re offering reduced prices for allotments to unemployed. To discuss with Witham Allotments Association. Mr F G Royce the secretary.

 

UDC Public Health Committee, 17 January 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/6)

Disposal of Household refuse. Met Mr Collier and Mr Dudley of Messrs Collier and Co of Marks Tey brick manufacturers, re their possibly taking all District House refuse. Says could definitely do it November to March but not interested in summer. Various arrangements considered. If necessary to dump temporarily, then would have to be the ‘old dump in the allotment field at Maldon Road’ where hopper could be put up. Adjourn to show them it.

 

UDC Finance and General Purposes Committee, 26 March 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 1. Tree at Maldon Road allotment field belonging to UDC, fell on Mr Loveday’s property. Surveyor got ‘certain unemployed men’ to take top of tree. Nothing offered for trunk by Mr A E Gaymer, timber merchant, or by Mr Loveday. So tell Mr Loveday he can have it if he repairs the fence.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 19 September 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 133. Bungalows for aged persons. OK to appropriate part of old cemetery site now used as allotments for this, ‘the proposed appropriation of the half acre of the Rickstones Road Recreation Ground not being practicable’ [this became Homefield Road]. Report what accommodation can be got ‘on the land at the top of the cemetery, recently hired to Mr G F Thompson’.

 

UDC Housing Committee, 9 November 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 175. Met at allotments part of Cocks Farm. Has been suggested that they be put into gardens of houses on side of Cressing Road nearest railway. Can’t recommend.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 19 November 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 205. Allotments. Preparations now to move holders of allotments at cemetery site to land adjoining cemetery site ‘recently occupied by Mr G F Thompson.’

 

UDC Public Health Committee, 17 December 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

pages 212-213. Collection of house refuse, re July report. Choose scheme 1 and buy a Ford vehicle. Maldon Road tip. Old gravel tip in the allotment field, Maldon Road, rapidly filling. Only another 4 months available. Investigate others.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 19 December 1935 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 229. Of the 29 allotment holders to be displaced from old cemetery field because of Aged persons bungalows [Homefield Road], 13 have asked for alternative plots, and 2 new applications. Ask tenants on Cressing Road if they want any.

200 sheep strayed onto the Maldon Road allotments from adjoining meadow. Extensive damage to ‘green-stuff’ of holders. Ask tenants to approach Clerk to take action.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 16 January 1936 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 249. Allotments Maldon Road. Mr A J Horner’s sheep were the ones that strayed. He complained about Clerk’s officious letter. Committee support the Clerk.

page 250. More on numbers of people for allotments in Rickstones Road.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 13 February 1936 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 290. Layout for 18 allotments adjoining Cemetery submitted. Ask for another layout for 24, with gate to Recreation Ground.

 

UDC Public Health Committee, 15 December 1936

pages 619-620. Allotments. Certificates from Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Schedule of existing allotments, i.e.

Little Elms, part allotments, part arable, 3.36 acres

Braintree Road, 3.42 acres

Maldon Road, 5.48 acres, part allotments, part gravel pit now being worked.

Hoo Hall Rivenhall, 1.40 acres

Another list of land reserved for allotments:

Cuppers Farm to replace temporary ones at Bridge Home, 4.2 acres

Bridge Homes, existing temporary ones, 3.79 acres

Maldon Road, arable, to replace existing temporary allotments, 7.47 acres

Chipping Hill, existing temporary allotments 1.8 acres.

 

UDC Public Health Committee, 16 March 1937 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/7)

page 716. Allotments. Strutt and Parker agree to small portion of land next Bridge Home being reserved for permanent allotments.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 18 March 1940 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/9)

[page 268] To offer vacant plots in Maldon Road to military as allotments on rent free basis.

 

UDC Housing Committee, 22 April 1940 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/9)

[page 278] Church Street housing site. Undeveloped land adjoining Glebe Crescent. Some let for allotments but 4 acres left and Council obliged to cultivate it. To let to Mr L D Blake of Spring Lodge.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 19 September 1940 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/9)

[page 379] Allotments at Maldon Road. Some not used. Offer for keeping chickens if they are ‘properly fenced in’.

 

UDC Public Health Committee, 11 January 1941 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/9)

[page 458] Sewer damaged, near river in Powers Hall Road allotment field. Broken by enemy action. Excavate by crater. To be repaired.

 

UDC 26 May 1941 page 523 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/5)

(page 524) Re unsatisfied demand for allotments, Ministry of Agriculture has authorised entrance upon land in Collingwood Road belonging to Mrs Peecock. Managed to persuade Mr Morgan to release additional land at Rickstones Road allotment field (Mr M is a market gardener).

 

12 Jun 1941, message Braintree Report Centre to Essex County Control, 05.38/05.42 (ERO C/W/1/2/8)

Further to my Situation report of 05.15 hours, Witham report searched Towers [Powers] Hall End Blunts Hall. No more craters found. Later, further crater on allotments at back of Fyfield [Highfield] Road. [Added in different hand:] ‘?Highfield’

 

UDC Public Health Committee, 6 November 1941 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/9)

[page 668] Completed inspecting railings and recommend the following for inclusion [the table is quoted exactly in these notes].

Cemetery Witham UDC Division fence between cemetery and allotments. Cemetery entrance gates not to be removed

 

UDC Housing Committee, 17 November 1942 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

‘Witham and Rivenhall End Allotment Holders and Garden Society’ complain of damage from cattle, people using the allotments as public footpath, and children climbing fences. Find out if there is a public footpath from Cherry Tree Crossing over the field to Faulkbourne.

 

UDC, 30 November 1942 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/5)

Estates Committee adopted except to alter to read three dead elm trees at far side of Maldon Road allotments instead of at the entrance.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 30 November 1942 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 107] Circular from Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries about allotments. Committee consider Witham is doing all it can.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 14 December 1942 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 114] ‘Witham and Rivenhall End Garden and Allotment Society’ have asked to use Maldon Road Recreation Ground on August Monday next year for ‘Fruit and Vegetable Show and possibly a Fun Fair’. OK subject to conditions.

 

UDC Holidays at Home Week Committee, 9 March 1943 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 148] Agreed to have it Aug 2 to 7. Fruit and Vegetable show to be held on August Monday by the Society and also the Essex Federation of Allotment Societies joining in. Also ‘the local Rabbit Society’ is staging a show, and various other attractions. Large crowd expected. Dance in Public Hall on August Monday evening. Long list of people co-opted onto committee including Mrs S Eccleston, Mrs R Turner, Mrs C De Trense, Miss L Croxall, Mrs V Grape. Clerk to communicate with Messrs Keith Prowse Ltd ‘as to Entertainers and Variety Shows available during the Week’.

 

Finance and General Purposes Committee, 16 March 1943 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 161] ‘Witham and Rivenhall End Garden and Allotment Holders Society. They asked for financial assistance for show on Aug Monday. It is to be some magnitude as Essex Federation of Allotment Societies with over 70 branches and 26,000 members is taking part. Essex Institute of Agriculture also supports, and prominent members of Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will also be present. Also Witham Rabbit Society to have a show ‘open to the Country’ and Essex Garden Produce Committee require space for demonstration, and ditto Ministry of Food. If they have bad weather they could lose money. Agree to support if Ministry says OK.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 19 June 1943 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 202] Allotments generally well cultivated. A few partly uncultivated; consult the owners. Entrance to Maldon Road field and ‘the vacant land immediately adjoining thereto which was formerly used for gravel excavations needs scything’. To be done when possible but ‘the majority of the labour is still engaged out of the district’.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 6 September 1943 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 220] Witham and Rivenhall End Garden and Allotment Holders Society want to hire hall for day on September 25th re ‘Victory Garden and Produce show’. Proceeds to Red Cross Agriculture fund. Just charge overheads.

[page 221] Wartime allotments, Collingwood Road. Mr C W Hodges already occupies one plot by arrangement with Mrs Peecock, has also occupied adjoining piece ‘the subject of part of the Council’s requisition’. Mr Hodges also ‘allowing his fowls to run upon the chase-way leading to the allotments’. Also blocked up top of chaseway though has left room for barrows. Chairman to inspect.

 

UDC Finance and General Purposes Committee, 14 September 1943 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 235] Thanks from Witham and Rivenhall End Garden and Allotment Holders Society for interest in show on 2 August. Quite successful so no need for Council to cover loss.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 3 November 1943 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 258] Land adjoining the Peculiar People’s Chapel. In September, Committee recommended willow trees on river bank and agreed. Also consideration re use for allotments but decided too much trouble.

Maldon Road allotments. Inspected because of complaint about cattle ‘straying and eating the produce thereon’. Justified. The cattle had broken the fence. Has been repaired with ‘second hand barbed wire’.

Church Street allotments to be inspected. Formerly in very bad state.

 

UDC 7 December 1943, in Committee (ERO D/UWi 1/1/5)

Town and Country Planning. ‘The Council at this meeting considered generally the planning of the Urban District, and in particular Witham Town and Silver End. A report of the Surveyor on the Subject was taken into consideration’. Resolved …

(c) ‘In providing for future housing estates of any description proper zones be marked to ensure of recreational and allotment facilities’.

 

UDC Housing Committee, 15 February 1944 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 326] Surveyor’s report. Post War Housing Schemes. Enough land in Church Street and Glebe Crescent already in possession of Council for about 100 houses and 16 bungalows. Normally this would be enough for at least one year’s programme. Rate of building after War uncertain though Government has said ‘four million houses will be required in the 12 years after the War’. But how much at beginning not known. Cost will be higher than before. Unless Local Authorities get help, the rentals will have to be higher than present rentals. Re sewers and water mains, already there at Glebe Crescent and Church Street which would just need extending. Can’t be done just now because land used for agriculture and allotments. If the latter are taken away, alternative allotments will be needed probably.

 

UDC Housing Committee, 13 March 1945 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 504] Church Street allotments. Site may be needed for housing any time. So terminate agreement with the allotment holders and with Mr L D Blake at end of September. Can then be cultivated free by them until needed for housing.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 13 March 1945 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

Allotments, cemetery site. Mr T W Morgan of 147 Cressing Road wishes to give up part of land he hires there. Arrangements for Mr Hugh Page to farm it not yet made because of Mr Morgan’s illness, but hope to arrange shortly.

 

UDC 26 March 1945, page 729 (ERO D/UWi 1/1/5)

Housing Committee, item re. Church Street allotments referred back.

 

UDC Housing Committee, 15 May 1945 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 524] Church Street allotments. Agreements not terminated as agreed before because land not anticipated to be needed before September next.

 

UDC Estates Committee, 15 May 1945 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 527] Witham and Rivenhall End Garden and Allotment Society want the Recreation Ground and Park on 14 July for Flower and Vet Show. Agreed.

 

UDC Housing Committee, 24 September 1945 (ERO D/UWi 1/2/10)

[page 587] Church Street housing. Give notice to quit to allotment holders and the agricultural tenant.

 

John Newnan

John said that in his day at the station (1950s) the station allotments were called ‘Canada’, people would say they were going to Canada. But this probably applied to some on the other side of the line, near the maltings.

 

Ordnance Survey Six Inch Maps, early 1950s

Include “allotment gardens” at:

Between Cemetery, Manor Road in south, and Elm Farm in north (now part of Rickstones playing field)

At the end of Homefield Road

Powershall End, what is now Saxon Drive

At west end of Powershall End, behind the houses on the south.

Hatfield Road, small, next to Bridge Home

Hatfield Road, small, behind houses opposite Bridge Home

Hatfield Road, small, behind Ivy Chimneys

Maldon Road, west side, behind houses, now the southern Sports ground.

 

NB Cut Throat Lane not named as allotments

 

 

Braintree and Witham Times, 6 January 1955

Ringing old year out at parish church; allotment dinner (from Maurice Smith index)

 

Braintree and Witham Times, 23 December 1965

Allotments, lack of interest (from Maurice Smith index, I don’t have any more info.)

 

1980s

O.S. 1:2500 map, nothing marked at the site of  the Cut Throat Lane allotments – it could just have been omitted. Didn’t look at other sites.

 

1990s

O.S. 1:2500 map, Cut Throat Allotments marked as allotments. Didn’t look at other sites.

 

 

Photos

 

Ref Date of photo Description Source
M605 April 1957 Part of air photo of Moat farm etc. taken from south-east. This part includes parts of Powershall End, Chipping Hill, the railway, Guithavon Valley, Collingwood Road and The Avenue, the fields later the Moat farm estate, and the allotments later the site of Saxon Drive. See also M1559-M1568. See link for key map. Horner, Patrick
M1559 April 1957 Part 1 of air photo of Moat farm etc. taken from south-east. This part includes top of Highfields Road including Highfields farm, and part of Powershall End including Spa Place, and part of the allotments which are now the site of Saxon Drive. See also M605 and M606. See link for key map. Horner, Patrick
M1560 April 1957 Part 2 of air photo of Moat farm etc. taken from south-east. This part includes fields now part of Moat farm housing estate, and part of the allotments which are now the site of Saxon Drive, between Highfields Road and the railway. Also part of the railway viaduct. See also M605 and M606. See link for key map. Horner, Patrick
M1564 April 1957 Part 6 of air photo of Moat farm etc. taken from south-east. This part includes Chipping bridge, 26 Chipping Hill, 28 Chipping Hill, 30 Chipping Hill, and church hall, west and of Powershall End including mill and Spring Lodge and 6 Powershall End, track to Faulkbourne, and part of allotments later site of Saxon Drive. See also M605 and M606. See link for key map. Horner, Patrick
M1565 April 1957 Part 7 of air photo of Moat farm etc. taken from south-east. This part includes Chippimg bridge, west side of Chipping Hill including Earlsmead and Pinkham’s glove factory, Moat farm chase including the farm and the bridge, the railway, river, and part of the allotments later site of Saxon Drive. See also M605 and M606. See link for key map. Horner, Patrick
M1787 1954 View from back of 128 Highfields Road to Chipping Hill, including house garden. The house at 128 was built the year before, in 1953, on an empty plot, for the Lepper family. Includes allotments in foreground behind garden fence. On extreme left, seen through window, is Spring Lodge (3 Powershall End). Left of centre in middle distance are the semi-detached houses at 6 Powershall End and 8 Powershall End, with Chipping bridge in centre. Just below horizon, towards the left perhaps 7 Church Street, left of centre the Vicarage, right of centre, parish church, to right of that, 26 Chipping Hill (left side of green), then on far right, 24 Chipping Hill and 22 Chipping Hill. Lepper, Helen and Alfred
M1788 1954 View from back of 128 Highfields Road to Chipping Hill, including house garden. The house at 128 was built the year before, in 1953, on an empty plot, for the Lepper family. Includes allotments in foreground behind garden fence. On extreme left are the semi-detached houses at 6 Powershall End and 8 Powershall End, with Chipping bridge in centre. On horizon, towards the left the Vicarage, above the bridge, parish church, to right of that, 26 Chipping Hill (left side of green), 24 Chipping Hill and 22 Chipping Hill (behind the green), end wall of 55 Chipping Hill on right hand side of road, and to right backs of houses at Chipping Hill. Extreme right is Moat farm house. Lepper, Helen and Alfred
M1819 24th September 1966 Opening of new Fire Station, Hatfield Road. Seen from top of tower, looking down on back of fire station. Allotments in background. By table on left are Alderman G E Rose, chairman of County Fire Brigade Committee (standing) and Councillor Ted Smith, chairman of Witham Urban District Council (with chain, in middle). Seated in second row from front, 4th from right, is Frank Ager (just to right of lady with hat sitting behind him). See also photo M390. Colin Ager via Brian Knight.
M2239 1954-1965 St Nicholas church and Chipping Hill, seen from the allotments where Saxon Drive has since been built. Houses visible to right of tall trees are what is now 28 Chipping Hill (formerly Mole End), 26 Chipping Hill, and end of 55 Chipping Hill (bare). See link 1 for information about numbering, dating, etc. Scott-Mason, John

 

 

References to allotments in oral history interviews.

 

Mrs Edith Brown, born 1895

Tape 5

Q:        What, did he grow vegetables and things more or ….?

Mrs Brown:  Yea, well, we had a big allotment and he used to grow his celery at home (Q:  Yea.) erm, used to have a flower garden all the way down, wide piece, and round like that, both sides (Q:  Yea.) and then at the back of the, then he had tall chrysanths, then at the back he used to have a celery, two celery trenches, one either side, then he used to grow white and pink celery, they used to be them days, that was lovely.  Course, we had, course we had to take all our celery up weekends, then he had the allotment for all the vegetables he grew, you know, grew all his own vegetables, I forget where the allotment was then, been so many years ago.  (Mrs S:  Wasn’t it down where Mr North ….)  Down Maldon Road somewhere.  (Mrs S: Not North, Mr ….the shoe, the shoemaker, Horrocks[?].) [Hollick]  Down there somewhere, Grace, couldn’t tell you exactly where it was now, I forget, but I know we had a big allotment, (Mrs S:  Yes.) used to grow stuff for all the winter, (Mrs S:  Course there’s so many houses down there isn’t there?) and store it all.  Hey?  (Mrs S:  So many houses built down there now.)  Mm, he used to clamp all his erm, oh, dear, (Mrs S:  Potatoes.) no, not potatoes (Mrs S:  Beetroot.) yes, beetroot and parsnips, used to clamp all them up with straw and earth (Q:  Yea, yea.) and then you just got ‘em out when you want ‘em.

Q:        So you wouldn’t have to buy much then?

Mrs Brown:  Mother, I don’t think my mother had to buy, we didn’t, did we?  (Mrs S:  No, not really [???].)  My husband, we had (Mrs S:  [???], Church Street.) we erm, we never bought a thing hardly, now and again we’d buy a swede wouldn’t we?  (Mrs S:  No[?] swede.)  But otherwise we never bought no potatoes or onions and everything used to be, you know, kept and, my husband used to go Sunday mornings cut the greens for the dinner all fresh.  We had Brussels sprouts or, all sorts and Mr Springett done the same.

Tape 6

Mrs Brown:  No, not really, not a lot. He don’t like gardening. (Q: Oh, yes.) Had a great big allotment and he had a lovely garden at the house, we had a big piece each side, a lovely flower garden, so much flower garden and so much at the back, he used to grow all, grow celery and that at the back of the flowers, he used to have, like high chrysanths all the way round and then that, about that space was all sorts of flowers, we had some lovely [???] didn’t we and he used to have all crocuses and all sorts, lilies, my mum had them coloured lilies with the spots on (Mrs S: Tiger lilies weren’t they called?.) yea, lovely they were, she loved her flowers and little rose trees and he used to do all the gardening and he had a big allotment as well (Q: Mm, That would take lot [???].) grow, he used to grow, he used to do all our shoe mending. (Q: Oh, did he?) Mm, dad did, yes, my husband did too, he ….

 

Mrs Edith Raven, born 1893

Tape 10

Mrs Raven:  Yes, and I was praying all the way down that wall, that somebody’d give me a ha’penny. But they didn’t. So I took these beans back and I said, Mrs Doole said they’d be ‘Another ha’penny, dear’, so I said ‘Well, may I bring that in the morning?’ Because she knew us, you see, so she said ‘Yes, dear, on your way to school’. So when I got, I could see Father coming off that garden field where those houses are now. Up that hill, you know? You know where the Community …. ? [garden field was allotments where Saxon Drive now is].

Q:        Oh, I think I know, yes. Where the allotments were, yes.

Mrs R: Yes. They were the allotments. Well, we had forty rod on there.

Q:        That’s opposite the Community Centre you mean. (Mrs R: Yes) Yes.

Tape 13

Mrs Raven   Pop had got a bit of allotment over there and there was a man digging his bit next door. So this man said to Pop. He said ‘There’s a funeral on today.’ So Pop said ‘Oh is there?’ So Pop said ‘I wonder who that is?’ So this man said ‘That’s Herbert from the Labour [Exchange]’ So Pop said ‘I hope he’s got his cards with him!’ [Both laugh] I never forgot that, I thought that was dreadful.

Mrs Raven: And there was a pond up in this, um, up in this place where they’ve built those houses and that allotments, there [Saxon Drive, probably]. And he fell in there once or twice. They’d throw their bits and pieces. They knew he was soft enough to go and try and get ‘em, and go on the ice and he’d go. He’s dead and gone now. But you ….

 

Miss Ada Smith, born 1897

Tape 14

Q:         Did they used to grow vegetables and things?

Miss Smith: Oh, yes. (Q: In the garden?) In the allotment too, yes, I remember all the vegetables.

Q:         It must have been hard work, where did you have the allotment?

Miss Smith: Over the rail, by the railway, each side of the railway, main line railway, the allotments.

 

Mrs Elsie Hammond, born c.1900

Tape 23

Mrs Hammond:      Oh well, that’s funny thing, but my mother used to lay on a big meal, in a way. Make a pot of tea. Have cups of tea. There might be soused mackerel. This time of year, there’d be salads and, I, I think that was her best meal of the day because she’d been busy in the daytime. I’ve always thought that. But or, beetroot and cheese, all that sort of thing. We used to live alright like that. You see, but that’d probably be produce really from the garden, or the allotment.

Q:       You had an allotment, did you?

Mrs Hammond:      My father had an allotment, yes. That was a railway allotment. It was a piece of ground, it’s still there; it’s derelict. It’s the other side of the main line. We used to have to go over there to do it.

Q:       Did you have to help him?

Mrs Hammond:      I wasn’t, I was never, only to pick the stuff. Pick the beans, and pick up potatoes, or drop them, drop the potatoes in the first place. He used to have the long, rows and we used to drop them in, you see. And then that was bean picking, or, he didn’t grow peas cause we used to go pea picking. And they used to wangle enough home, so we didn’t used to. [laughing] Used to put some in the bucket with a coat on the top. [laughing] So they never had to grow peas, but all the other vegetables, cause they couldn’t really buy them, you see. Couldn’t afford to buy them. That’s how, people used to work their sets, you see. Potatoes, they used to do an exchange. People didn’t, couldn’t pay out a lot, they use to exchange, one with another. So they’d have a change of seed. It was the only way to work it.

 

Bert (Jim) Godfrey, born 1906

Tape 27

They had quite a big garden down Bridge Street, yes. Running up the back there, quite a long way. And then, where the fire station is, that was all an allotment field. He used to have a plot on there as well. Where he’d spend –he’d spend a lot of his spare time there.

 

Lucy Croxall, born 1903 and Eva Hayes, born 1893

Tape 29

Eva Hayes:   No, we had an allotment.

Lucy Croxall:         Our allotment, Father’s and your allotment was where Podsbrook is. All that belonged to Blyths the millers.

Eva Hayes:   Where the chapel is, there was a mill there. (LC: A flourmill) A flour mill, you see and of course where Alan McKirdy lived, that was their house, private house (LC: Lovely, it was) and all Podsbrook, all that piece was their garden. And Bernard the son lived where they live now, Peyton/Payton, lived over at Peyton. Bernard lived there and he didn’t want all that extra land so he let Father, Superintendent Lennon, (LC: The policeman) Mr Edwards at the White Hart and Mr Howlett, the organist, all had a piece (LC: (talking over) All four had that garden between them). I planted, I was going to say thousands, hundreds of bulbs in that field.

Lucy Croxall:         So now we say if any flowers come up at Podsbrook we believe they all belong to us. (Q laughs) Lovely garden wasn’t it?

 

Mrs Annie Ralling, born 1900

Tape 36

Q:       What about vegetables ?

Mrs Ralling  Well people had their own garden fields didn’t they. In those days everybody used to grown their own garden things. Like up Hatfield Road you know where the Fire Station is that was all allotments.

Q:       Usually it was the mother that did the shopping ?

Mrs Ralling: Yes, mostly, or they’d send the children. As I was saying, they used to have their own allotments, didn’t they, and gardens and they’d grow all their own vegetables often and that sort of thing. Funnily enough it is only just about a week ago there used to be two little men, you know I used to think they were like the dwarfs, they used to live in the town and they had a garden field or an allotment up Hatfield Road and I used to take their surplus [in her shop} and only about a fortnight ago I heard that the sister died. The two little men they used to have like a box on wheels, a barrow and they’d bring their marrows and cabbages and things like that. (Another voice ?) Of course they’ve built on them allotments now haven’t they. Yes all those houses up Hatfield Road.

 

Mr Maurice Greatrex, born 1903

Tape 49

Mr Greatrex:          No, father didn’t have time to do that. Grandfather wanted him to do the work here. (Q: I see, yes.) My father, he worked all the hours that he could in that business. Really worked hard all the time. When he wasn’t working in the business he was trying to run an allotment where all these houses are just down the road here. That glebe land that was sold by the Church [Saxon Drive]. Well we had an allotment on that, 20 foot[rod?] allotment on there which father used to keep going as well and, ‘cos there were eight of us in the family you see (Q: Quite.) and wages weren’t very high. They weren’t anything like they are nowadays. And so he had a job to keep things going.

 

Mr and Mrs Baxter,

Tape 80

Mrs B: We had several bombs drop about here, you know. Because up there – now where is it? Powershall Road – along Powershall Road because …
Mr B: Yes, I had an allotment up there.

Mrs B: That was all allotments.

Mr B: There was two bombs – they made a – they reckoned they were fastened together with a chain. There was a hole like that and a hole – you could put a house in them. In the two holes. Right in the allotments.

Mrs B: And that was our allotment and our neighbour’s allotment.

Mr Walter Peirce, born 1908

Tape 92

Mr Peirce:    …. [see picture 1] Highfields Road. Well, this was where the running pump, the running pump was, and back there was the dam, was the ramp that used to supply Blunts Hall and Highfields farm, up here. Well, they’re all gone now, ain’t they? (Q: Yes) See, well, that was all fields when I was a boy. This was the allotment. That’s all built upon [Saxon Drive]. (Q: That’s right) And then, um. there’s some houses, up here, Mr Richards the builder bought that one, and then there was, and then, then there was a couple of small little houses, and then you come into, um, well, Spa, Highfields Road, ’cos Spa Road has been built alongside, ain‘t it? (Q: Yeah). You still got the old Highfields Road, but that was always there but then um, when I um ….

Mr Peirce:    Now this may be interesting or may not [looking at photo, see picture 2]. That was when Crittall’s was built [Crittall’s window factory, Braintree Road]. (Q: Really). They were the workmen for Crittalls when that was built. ’Cos that used to be an allotment belonged to the Co-op. (Q: Oh did it? I see). Yes, if it hadn’t have been for the Co-op Crittall’s wouldn’t have been in Witham. (Q: Really, why’s that?) The Co-op sold the, well, Mrs Susannah Vaux, Bawtrees, and one or two of the …. noble, general, gentry people of Witham, they tried to keep Crittall’s out. They didn’t want no fact– didn’t want no factory in Witham at all. There was Pinkham’s factory. You know, the gentry people of Witham, they tried to keep Crittall’s out. They didn’t want no fact– didn’t want no factory in Witham at all. There was Pinkham’s factory. You know, the glove making factory. But they didn’t want no factory. But unfortunately, or fortunately, the Co-op sold the allotment to Crittall’s and that’s how Crittall’s started ….

Q:       Why the, was the Co-op very active – did it have a lot of land then, the Co-op?

Mr P Peirce: No, it only had that (Q: Oh, I see) that, all that allotment what run right up the back where the Co-op, that little Co-op, there was a little Co-op shop, wasn’t there [62 Braintree Road]? (Q: Yes). Well, all that land, right down to, to um, Albert Road. Matter of fact some of them houses in Albert, them houses in Albert Road belonged to the Co-op till the people bought them.

Mr Peirce:    Nineteen ten. Now this is my father on the wagon [see picture 6]. Now this (Q: Is it really?) Well I, I worked there for a little while in nineteen twenty six, or sev- yes, in nineteen sev, in nineteen twenty seven. I used to go round there with the horse and cart and I used to work at Bulford mill and all that. You see, well now, that’s the water mill and that’s the power mill, steam mill. (Q: Oh, I see). You see, now, that’s where the Evangelic church is, isn’t it? Now this here, was the allotment belonged to them, er, beehives and all that. Er, That’s where all the flats or something are built down there, ain’t they? [Podsbrook] Maisonettes. Ain’t they? (Q: I think, yes) Where you come ….

Mr Peirce:    Well, that, the other houses that side back on to it. Well, that used to be the cart lodge for Canon Ingles and Canon [i.e. present Church hall] (Q: Was it) And then where the, opposite the Spring Community Centre (Q: Yes) was allotments [now Saxon Drive]. Five shillings a year, my father used to have it. Twenty rod. Well, you paid the five shillings, and a potato. And you had a little bit of supper, all the, um, holders of the allotment. (Q: Oh I see,) You know, I told you (Q: Yes, yes,) where the footpath went through that allotment, and you went and paid it, Mr Hodges was the man, that took the money . He lived right, the other side of the railway line, near the Witham Creamery is, but a bomb dropped on it during the War, didn’t it? Blew it all to pieces. But they’ve rebuilt a new house, didn’t they [probably 20 Highfields Road]. Well, that was the man who used to take the money.

 

Mrs Hicks

Tape 99

Q: What did you used to make them with?

Mrs H: Great big stone bottles with a handle on the side. We used to make rhubarb but I don’t like that, and dandelion. Ooh that was lovely. Better than any whisky if you keep it a year. I made some of that once and blackberry, damson, all sorts I used to make. I don’t like, that used to be rhubarb, really, because they grew that on the allotment, and you see that didn’t cost anything. Only just the sugar, well the sugar wasn’t only about sixpence a pound then. You could do what you liked.
Ted Mott

Tape 103

Mr M: I used to have a piece of an allotment down Maldon Road when they had allotments down there, from up here. Because it was a family piece of allotment. A good piece you see. I used to trundle off down there with Keith on the front on a Saturday morning, stay down there till dinner time and come home. Just have an early breakfast and go down. He used to do a Sunday paper round, go up the shop here. I used to help him down as far as where the allotments were and then do the allotment. He used to come back up there.
Walter Peirce

Tape 110

Well, I used to go to the matinee, Saturday afternoon, three ha’pence. And this was after the war, after the First War, of course. And there was a lot of horses about then, see. And there was a big goods yard then, ain’t got that now, used to be a big goods yard wound by Cooper Tabers, seed merchants. Well, my father had this allotment and he said he’d give me a ha’penny for a barrow-load of horse manure. Well, we used to have Tate & Lyle sugar boxes, that’s what they were then. Used to get them at the grocer’s on a pair of perambulator wheels. With two handles on the side, that was [???]. Then we used to go along the road with a shovel and brush and fill it up. Well, I know I used to take it up the allotment and push it on a heap. So Father used to say ‘‘How many loads you took today, boy?’ ‘Oh, three of them’. ‘Three?’ ‘Yes, three’. That was three ha’pence. I could go to the pictures couldn’t I?

Tape 125

And then you come round the bend and that is Cressing Road. Well, all that field belonged to John Brown. So the Witham Council bought it, didn’t they? And they bought all that field and then they bought this field here, what’s called Homefield. That was my allotment. I had two bits of allotment there. That was our allotment, you see and that’s called Homefield. Well, all that used to belong to John Brown and the Council bought it all.
Mr Ken Miller

Tape 187

Well Henry’s father was a great poacher, well not poacher, but rabbiter and lived by the gun sort of thing, and there was a hare that used to elude him in the garden fields, of course the allotment holders wanted it caught because of the damage it was doing. And down opposite Spring Lodge, there was a five bar wooden gate, I can see it now, and, into the allotments, and this gate was always open for people coming and going on their bikes and trolleys and what have you. And this hare always got away across the road, cause it was, it was all fields across the road then, and the hare’d get away. So one day he shut the gate, and the hare ran full belt into the gate, and he got it, killed it. And Henry always used to spin this tale, and how his father got that, cause he was a great big tall bloke, and as I can remember he used to call on his bike, and, he was a bricklayer for Crittall’s, and I used to sharpen his chisels for him.

 

 

 

Mr John Newman

Tape 191

[re Station Maltings]

For some reason that little bit of ground was always known as Canada (Questioner: Known as what?) Canada. Yes, that piece of ground just there was always known as Canada. There were some allotments there as well. ‘Oh’, he says, ‘I’ve got an allotment on Canada’, so you knew where his allotment was.

 

 

 

http://www.inbrief.co.uk/neighbour-disputes/allotments.htm

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/10774314/Allotments-being-sold-off-for-development-despite-government-pledges.html

 

 

Email from Richard Pilbrow

richardpilbrow+allot-sec

 

Dear Janet,

 

It has been suggested that you may be able to help us in our research concerning how and when the Cut Throat Lane Allotment site was set up, by whom, and whether or not it directly replaced much older allotments on the other side of the main railway line which we believe were statutory allotments.

 

If you are willing and able to assist us it will be very much appreciated.  Our enquiry arises because Braintree District Council in their efforts to drive down operating costs are encouraging us to self-manage the Cut Throat Lane allotments on a long lease.  That is fine in principle, but they state that the site is currently classified as “temporary allotments” and they intend to refer to the allotments in the lease as “Community Land”.  They include a clause that allows them to take back the land after giving us 12 months notice, and excludes any obligation on the Council’s part to seek to find us an alternative site should they do so.  We believe that the Cut Throat Lane allotments, by their historical associations, are statutory allotments and should be referred to in the lease as “allotment gardens” and not as “community Land”.  Should we be able to prove that the allotments are “statutory” not “temporary”, whilst the Council can still take back the land by giving 12 months notice, it becomes under an obligation to try to find a suitable alternative land for use as allotments (which is commonly now achieved via section 106 planning agreements when new housing estates are developed).

 

We are very wary of entering into the contract as proposed since we believe that if we should do so, the land could quite easily be appropriated for any alternative use that the Council can demonstrate serves a “community purpose”, and deplete even further the land that has been lost to development in the Witham area.

 

Certainly the Cut Throat Lane site replaced others in Witham, including the old site on the opposite side of the railway which was almost certainly statutory allotment land.  We do know that what is now Cut Throat Lane Allotments was previously a seed trials ground occupied by Thomas Cullen & Sons.  Cullens closed their Witham operation (after mergers or takeovers) in 1983.  However it appears that allotment gardens use of the land that is now Cut Throat Lane allotments commenced before that year as Ordnance Survey maps show the area as “allotment gardens” in 1978 (but it was still seemingly Cullens seed trial fields in 1971).

 

 

We would like to be able to read Council Minutes dating back to the time the old allotments on the opposite side of the railway were taken back by the Council to be developed for industrial/commercial use (what is now part of Eastways Industrial Estate).  This may have been under Witham Council control, or under Braintree District Council (following the Local Government Act 1972 when Town Council land holdings transferred to District Councils).  We also would like to be able to read contemporary Council Minutes from the time the Cut Throat Lane site was appropriated for allotment use.  It appears to have been part of a development deal for the whole portion of former agricultural land that now forms the housing estate bordered by Conrad Road, Forest Road, Cut Throat Lane and the Branch railway line from Witham to Braintree.

 

If you do feel you can help us with some dates to narrow down our search through Council Minutes it will be so much appreciated.  If there is evidence in your possession that we could photograph or photocopy that would be even better.

 

We have not met but I am more than happy to come and meet you if discussion would be the best way forward.

 

Kind regards,

 

Richard Pilbrow

 

Secretary, Witham Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Association.

 

Copy addressees are our Chairman, Richard Playle, and Treasurer, David Youngman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *