By Twigs Way
(Shire, Paperback, 9780747806813, 64pp.)
Publication Date: September 23, 2008
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An allotment is a small area of land, let out at a nominal yearly rent by local government or independent allotment associations, for individuals to grow their own food. However, the humble allotment has a surprisingly turbulent history. Initially the right to an allotment was proposed as a charitable means by which the poor could grow their own food and stave off starvation, but it quickly entered political and social debate. During the World Wars the allotment became the focal point on the home front, as families took part in the 'Dig for Victory' campaigns.
The post-war years saw a decline in the popularity of the allotment as the supermarket took over from home-grown produce. Successive governments condemned allotments in favor of new housing. Recently, however, with increased concerns about the environment and the organic movement, allotments are in vogue once more. This book charts the rise and fall of the allotment - and the factors behind its most recent resurgence. Drawing on original documents and illustrations the author explores the fascinating and surprising history of the allotment within the context of its social and political history.
Dr Twigs Way trained as an archeologist and later developed a particular interest in garden and landscape history. She has designed programs in garden history for the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education and has lectured for Birkbeck College, London. Her latest book Virgins, Weeders and Queens: A History of Women in the Garden was published in 2006.
"This book has excellent color and black and white photographs both of allotments, but also the posters and postcards that were used to promote or make fun of allotments. My grandparents, and great grandparents worked allotments and this book does a good job of putting them into context. I learned a lot from this slim book and can recommend it." —Peter Milner, British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois