Time flies so quickly... It seems like only last week that we had the April volunteer workday working on the Long Walk, the main path through the allotment.  
With over 15 people we made good progress with most of the path in the southern half of the site.  But that was April and its now virtually the start of May...

Our May volunteer day will be on Saturday 2nd May and this time we'll be working on patches of the Long Walk on the northern half of the site.  Some sections got attention last year, but still there are many areas with bumps and undulation that make it unpleasant in wet weather (and downright difficult with a loaded wheelbarrow!).

When: From 10 AM, Saturday 2nd May
Where: Meet at the double gate in the centre of the site (and right by the bus stops) - map below
Until: We usually go on till around 1PM when we'll stop for a barbeque lunch.

Installation work on this pump started in April 2105.The first thing i did was remove the very heavy concrete slab on top of the plot. It was then that i discovered that the well was half full of rubbish. The image right show the top of the well with the metal barrel construction damaged or bend over on purpose. Once i looked down into the well i could see a roll of carpet, soil and plastic flower pots.

Mr R. W. Weal was the tenant of plot 229 from 1946 until 1993 when his son Dennis Weal took over the plot. In the decades after WW2 a number of plot holders built their own wells as there was no mains water on the allotment until around 1995. Mr R Weal dug his well which is constructed of metal water tanks placed on top of each other with the bottom cut out. He also installed a K4 Semi-Rotary pump to extract the water.

Just as the EDAS committee is tackling management and maintenance problems on the allotments today, the committee set up in 1833 had to grapple with the issues of its day, gradually finding its way as it learned from experience. Fortunately, our committee does not have to deal with rent collection, the most pressing concern for our predecessors. But there is a clear parallel in getting to grip with letting the vacant plots. And do you have one of the "gravelly pieces"?

Ealing Dean Allotments Committee minutes 9 July 1835

We will be having the first official skip of the year for plot holders on Sat. 18th April.
The skip is for plot holders to use to remove rubbish from their plots. The previous skips were filled up very quickly, within the same day, so we recommend that you get your rubbish ready to put in on the Saturday. When the skip is full we will put a tarpaulin over it. Please DO NOT leave items beside the skip. We will be having another skip in a few months time.

** Update: The skip should be on-site by 10am on Saturday morning **

In 1858, fifty allotment tenants signed a petition requesting that they be allowed to work on Sunday morning, before 8 a.m. The Bishop of London, when agreeing to allow the allotments on Ealing Dean Common, made it a condition that no-one should work on the Lord's day. This left the plotholders little time to tend their plots after their work in the week.

Ealing Dean Allotments Sunday Working Petition Text

As usual, we will be running our volunteer day on the first Saturday of the month. The next volunteer day is Saturday 7th of March (starting at 10.00 am) when we will continue to work on the hedgerow. With your help last month we removed litter and rubbish from the hedgerow all along the right hand side of the main gate. Thanks again for your help, it's made a huge difference! This month we will be doing the same on the hedgerow along the left hand side of the main gate, we would love for you to join us.

Removing the litter and rubbish will improve the look of the site and improve wildlife habitat. We will be removing some of the fencing panels to get access to the mounds of bottles, cans and general rubbish that has accumulated over the years.

Here are a few images that show glimpses of the allotments.

The first image (top left) shows hanger Hill Farm Diary that was occupied by Mr & Mrs C. Millard a Dairy Farmer. His wife worked in the diary which her husband Chas. millard was listed in the census as working "Out". To the right of the picture is the top of the allotments. A white gate can be seen at the top of what is now known as Radbourne Walk.

A picture of Hanger Hill Farm Dairy, c1904, at the corner of Mattock Lane and Dean Villas

1832 is an important date in the history of the site. This is when Charles James Blomfield, the Bishop of London, ensured the enclosure of the land for use as allotments. The original paperwork is in the London Metropolitan Archive. It is a little difficult to read - hence the question marks below. But, we think this is the best transcription available....

Portrait of C J Blomfield

HOW I GOT STARTED ON MY WEED INFESTED PLOT

So you reached the top of the waiting list and you now have the key to the allotment site – congratulations. Now the fun begins.

I was on the waiting list for about 3 years and I’ve had my plot since May 2011. So, I’m still a relative newbie. Some people have had plots for over 20 years.

This is a very personal view of how to get started – based on what I’ve learnt from making mistakes and talking to more experienced allotmenteers. I hope it helps.

A well cared for allotment plot

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