Highgate Allotments History
It is believed that the Highgate Allotments were first established in 1896.
Over the past 100 years the area of the allotments has shrunk substantially. The map to right (click image for more detail) is a rough indication of how far the plots stretched in 1920 compared to the present day. You can also see a 1913 Ordnance Survey map image here (courtesy Alan Godfrey Maps).
The 1913 OS map appears to show a smaller area of ‘Allotment Gardens’ than in 1920 so perhaps there was a temporary arrangement of extended allotments as part of a ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign during and after the First World War.
Land Registry records (click for Plan and Register) show the current Allotment Gardens, 15.075 acres, were sold by the Church Commissioners to Hornsey Council in 1926 along with another piece of land for a sum of £2800 (see the Conveyance document). There is a restrictive covenant on the allotments to: "Use the said hereditaments as allotments and for no other purpose whatsoever and will at all times hereafter cultivate or cause the same to be cultivated in a proper and husbandlike manner as allotments and keep the same in good heart and condition and free from weeds".
The 1920s image was sourced from www.britainfromabove.org.uk
A Brief History of Allotments
GROWING SPACE - A HISTORY OF THE ALLOtMENT MOVEMENT
A recent book on the history of the allotment movement.
Excerpt from website [ fiveleaves.co.uk ] ...
There are currently over 300,000 allotment plots in the UK, with roughly 100,000 people on waiting lists. Allotments are popular, and under threat. This accessible social history book looks at how changing economic, political and cultural conditions have affected the demand for plots. A thorough study debunks the myth that the provision of allotments was solely a benign activity for the poor, but a highly politicised history which reflects national and local policies on land use with a constant struggle to hold onto these city fields and country gardens. The book is illustrated throughout.
Lesley Acton is a conservation and cultural heritage consultant who normally writes on Conservation. Her previous books include The Repair of Pottery and Porcelain and Practical Ceramic Conservation. She has written on allotments for the Institute of Archaeology, and the Oxford Food Symposium Proceedings (Prospect Books). She is in contact with allotmenteers nationwide.
Lesley Acton runs the popular website www.allotmentresources.org