History of the the Allotment Association


Courtesy of Wikipedia the history of an allotment is as follows;

An engraving dated 1732 in Birmingham, England indicated when the allotment system began, and shows the town encircled by allotments.

Some of these allotments still exist to this day.

Following the Enclosure Acts and The Commons Act of 1876 the land available for personal cultivation by the poor was greatly diminished.

To fulfill the need for land allotment legislation was included.

The law was first fully codified in The Small Holdings and Allotment Act of 1908, then it was modified by The Allotments Act of 1922 and subsequent Allotments Acts up until 1950.

Under the acts a local government is required to maintain an adequate provision of land, usually a large allotment field which can then be subdivided into allotment gardens for individual residents at a low rent.

The rent is set at what a person may reasonably be expected to pay (1950)

I n 1997 the average rent for a 10 rod (App. 300square yards or 240 square metres) plot was £22 a year.

Each plot cannot exceed 40 rods and must be used for the production of fruit or vegetables for consumption by the plot holder and their family (1922), the exact size and quality of the plots is not defined.

A Typical Allotment site.
Picture courtesy of
Google Earth

The council has a duty to provide sufficient allotments to meet demand,however, the total number of plots have varied greatly over time.

In 1997 the total income from allotments was £2.61 million and total expenditure was £8.44 million.

In the 19th and early 20th century, the allotment system supplied much of the fresh vegetables eaten by the poor.

In 1873 there were 244,268 plots and by 1918 there were around 1,500,000 plots.

While numbers fell in the 1920s and 1930s, following an increase to 1,400,000 during World War II, there were still around 1,117,000 plots in 1948.

This number has been in decline since then, falling to 600,000 by the late 1960s.

The Thorpe Inquiry of 1969 investigated the decline and put the causes as the decline in available land, increasing prosperity and the growth of other leisure activities.

Despite increased interest in green issues from the 1970s which revived interest in allotment gardening, the rate of decline was only slowed, falling from 530,000 plots in 1970, to 497,000 in 1977, although there was a substantial waiting list.

By 1980 the surge in interest was over, by 1997 the number of plots had fallen to around 265,000, with waiting lists of 13,000 and 44,000 vacant plots.

When required allotment users tend to use the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners, known as the "NSALG".to campaign on their behalf,

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