Allotments (Britain's Heritage Series) by Twigs Way
|Allotments (Britain's Heritage Series) by Twigs Way|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A look at the history of the allotment. It's a quick, easy, entertaining and informative read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 64||Date: April 2017|
|Publisher: Amberley Publishing|
Allotments came about originally from the enclosure of land, primarily for sheep pasture. Fearing that the enclosures would leave peasants unable to feed themselves, Elizabeth I issued an act requiring all new cottages to have four acres of ground, something which has been honoured more by history than by Elizabeth's contemporaries. It was the first in a long line of legislation with that aim in mind - which largely failed to achieve their aims.
Enclosures gained pace in the eighteenth century, largely because of a move to make agriculture more efficient, although some land was made available to recompense those disadvantaged by the enclosures, but it was obviously insufficient. Overcrowded housing led to many men spending their evenings in the public house, with money spent on ale rather than housekeeping: it wasn't only wives who pleaded for land to be made available so that their husbands would have something to do in the evenings other than drink.
Twigs Way details the development of the allotment and is particularly strong on the early twentieth century beginnings of the modern movement, the benefits they provided in the wars - and even between the wars during the depression - through to their low point in the nineteen sixties when the land was thought to be better used for housing and to the current state where 'having an allotment' is seen as a fashionable hobby with a long waiting list for most sites. There's also a wealth of factoids - such as how the standard size for a plot came about, or that plots must be cultivated by spade. If you wanted to bring in a plough you were considered to have more land than you needed to support yourself and your family.
The text is supported by a wealth of illustrations. Some are there for the humour, such as a sign forbidding trespassing and warning that trespassers will be composted, but most show how the sites would have looked from Edwardian times onwards. The book is a quick, easy, entertaining and informative read and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For more on allotments we can recommend The Allotment Experience by Ruth Binney which will be useful to those thinking about an allotment and those who have already taken the plunge. We also enjoyed Allotted Time: Two Blokes, One Shed, No Idea by Robin Shelton which tells of the experience of two men who took on an old allotment and grew their own vegetables. Shelve this alongside The Kitchen Garden (Britain's Heritage Series) by Caroline Ikin.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Allotments (Britain's Heritage Series) by Twigs Way at Amazon.com.
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