Shire Book: Allotments
Allotments are small areas of land rented to individuals to grow their own food. Nowadays often thought of as havens of peace and quiet, the humble allotment has a surprisingly turbulent history. Born out of a philanthropic movement tied to social and moral control of the poor in the eighteenth century, allotments soon became fashionable among the urban middle classes during the World Wars, and formed the backbone of the 'Dig for Victory' campaign, producing essential supplies for the home front. The post-war years saw a decline in their popularity, as fast food took over from home-grown produce, but environmental concerns and the organic movement mean that allotments are now in vogue once more. The author here draws on a wide range of original historic documents to chart the rise and fall of the allotment.