First AGM with description of land leased

1918 Season 

A letter from Mr Danpure was published in February 1918 asking that members let him know their requirements for lime.  The cost to members would be 1s 5d per bushel.

Author – For those younger readers amongst us, One Pound (£) = 20 Shillings (s) and One shilling = 12 Pence (d) and one Bushel = 8 gallons or 1.25 cu.ft

The councillors on the Aldershot District Council Allotments committee comprised Messrs Attfield, Baker, Simmonds and Underwood.

At the first Annual General Meeting in April, Mr E Eldridge presided in the absence of the Chairman through illness. The membership at the end of the financial year was 258, with a holding of 335 shares.  Three plots of land had been taken over by the Association for allotments, comprising a field of six acres at North Town held on a 7 year lease, a field of 3 acres at Church Lane, held on a lease of 3 years, and a plot of 11/4 acres at the Grange also held on a 3 year lease. Members had found difficulty in getting coal last winter and a Coal Club had been formed proving of great benefit to the members, An Agricultural Wholesale Society had recently been formed to help all engaged in growing food through Allotment Associations by supplying them with all their requirements, seeds, implements, etc. on a co-operative basis, and this the Committee hoped to see made full use of by the members.

Mr O’Dell, the Organising Secretary of the War Agricultural Department gave a resume on the allotment movement throughout England.

Mr G.W Chandler said he had tried to help the Association by letting them a field at North Town.  On the 1911 census, a Mr George William Chandler was described as a pork butcher aged 53 living at 91 High Street, Aldershot.

In May, a letter was published under the pseudonym “SPADE AND FORK”, regarding the lateness of cultivation by some plot holders and suggesting that the Allotment Association could issue an appeal to their members to “’buck up.”

At a public meeting in the St Augustus Church Rooms, a committee was elected to make arrangements for holding another North Town Cottagers and Allotment Holders vegetable show.  The first one held last year was quite successful.

In June, a journalist reporting on the progress in the allotments wrote

It is at this time of the year that the allotment holder is able to estimate whether success or partial failure will be his reward for his labours earlier in the year. Judging by the results of an interesting tour of the local allotments by an Aldershot News representative last Sunday morning, there is abundant evidence on all sides that Aldershot allotment holders have made a big effort to ensure success, and that the call to increase the food production of the country has been well responded to in this district.

With few exceptions the plots were in a well-cropped condition, and plenty of variety was noted; the plots typifying the likes and dislikes of the holders. That a large amount of time and labour have been expended on them was borne out by the heaps of stones and rubbish that had been excavated in the course of trenching operations.

The sites visited included: East Station Road, St. Joseph’s Road, The Crown Estate, Aldershot Manor, The Grange Paddock, Church Hill, Highfield Avenue, Bridge Road and Hillside-Road.

In August, at the Aldershot Volunteer Fire Brigade fete, the entries of allotment holders’ produce were described as disappointing in numbers, but excellent in quality. Only a small number of exhibits were staged, a somewhat surprising result in view of the keenness of so many allotment holders, but the vegetables exhibited were well grown, and  served to indicate how successfully Aldershot is taking its share in increasing the food production of the country. The judges were Mr J. R. Attfield, Mr. J.Cresswell, and Mr. Hubbard, who awarded the prizes to the following:

Best group of vegetables, six varieties, second year allotment holders:

1 – Mr W. H Friend.  2 – Mr. S. A. Pegg; 3- Mr. W. Thripp, 4 – Mr. S. Danpure; 5 – Mr. F. Gilbert.

Best group of vegetables, eight varieties, permanent allotment holders:

1 – Mr. J. Allen.  2 – Mr. A. Matcham.

Best group of vegetables, open to all:

1 – Mr. E. Judson.  2 – Mr. H. Giles, 3 – Mr. A. W. Thompson

A similar Cottagers’ show was held in North Town and Tongham also held its own show.

In September, Mrs Alexander, President of the Aldershot & District Allotment Association organised a talk by Mr Valentine Davis of the Food Production Department. This was reported under the title “Troubles of Allotment Holders – Helpful Advice” Topics included deep cultivation, the science of manuring, club root, onion and parsnip seed and potato culture.

1919 Season 

At the second Annual General Meeting in May, the membership was reported as 335, allotment holders numbered 97, compared with 88 last year, the increase being in the North Town field. Mr C. F Wilson took over as secretary with the retirement of Mr Danpure. The Committee recorded their high appreciation of the splendid services of Mr. Danpure as secretary of the Association since its formation over two years ago. Mr. Danpure was unanimously elected chairman. Mr. Chandler said that had it not been for Mr. Danpure, he doubted if the Association would be in existence.

In May, the Secretary contacted the General Officer Commanding with reference to loan, hire, or purchase of an army hut, to be used as an office and storeroom. In June, the Assistant Quartermaster General stated ”That enquiries have been made with a view to finding a small hut suitable for your purpose, and regret that at present no hut or shed is available.  The Association’s secretary’s address was 1 Vine Street, Upper Elms Road.

Three sprayers were available for members who wished to spray their potatoes and members were advised to get their names on the waiting list. It was also proposed that the Association organise a show.

The Council notified the Association that they were no longer seeking land for allotments.

Reference was made to a Lord Woolmer having become a member of the Association. Lord Woolmer was Roundell Cecil Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne (15 April 1887 – 3 September 1971). At the 1918 general election, he had been elected as Member of Parliament to the newly formed constituency of Aldershot where he served until 1940.

In August, the Association held a Flower and Vegetable show in conjunction with Aldershot Fanciers Association with a remarkable show of rabbits.  Prizes were presented.

The band of the Highland Light Infantry played during the sports in the afternoon, and there were al fresco entertainments by the Martinsyde Pierriots, who contributed a delightful programme of songs and concerted pieces of a light and humorous character, a clever display of national dancing, etc., by the Dent family, and a Punch and Judy show; which was the centre of a dense crowd of laughing children at each performance. In the evening, there was dancing on the green which afforded amusement to a very large number of visitors.

In November, the Council discussed the rental of allotments on which they are making a loss and considered that in lieu of the present rental of 2s for a maximum of ten rods, that the new charge shall be 4d per rod, with a minimum of 2s for any one allotment.

There was a waiting list of persons requiring allotments, and that no allotment holder shall be granted more than one allotment in future.

The Council tried to talk to land owners and persuade them to extend the tenancy on land for 7 or 14 years with little success.

In December, the Council were asked about compensation for plot holders in Church Hill who have been dispossessed of their allotments by reason of the land being required for building purposes. It was referred to the Board of Agriculture

1920 Season 

There were worries that the land taken over under the Cultivation of Land Order 1916 would be given back to its owners. Some allotment holders were given notice to quit on the 31st March next, particularly in the Manor and Municipal Gardens areas.

The third Annual General Meeting in July 1920 at the Rechabites’ Hall, Victoria Road, reported a membership of 350 with some 30 members being present at the meeting. Permanent Allotments – “The committee is moving in the matter of obtaining land for permanent allotments, the demand for which is unsatisfied in the neighbourhood, and wish to impress upon every member the benefits which must accrue to all by uniting in the endeavour to further extend the benefits of your Association.”

The President reported that a few of the members plots were not being cultivated properly, and thought that after due notice these allotments should be given to people on their waiting list.

The annual show in conjunction with the Aldershot Fanciers Association was held again in July and although a success, the rain fell all afternoon.  Prizes were again awarded.

During the afternoon a programme of sports were carried through, under the direction of Mr. J. M. Chew. Several novel events were provided, including a race for errand boys, who had to run, carrying a bath, for 400 yards. There were also a number of side-shows.

In order to cover some of the financial losses of the show, a whist drive was organised and held in the Holy Trinity School rooms.  Some 56 tables of 4 were occupied approx. 225 people in total with 24 hands being played. The drive was followed by an enjoyable dance.

In October, a person was caught stealing potatoes from an allotment.

1921 Season 

In August, the Ministry of Agricultural instructed local authorities that the land taken over under Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) – Cultivation of Land Order 1916 was to be given back to its owners by end of March 1923.

In October, the Council considered the continued tenancy of land and recommended the following:- 

Aldershot Manor Estate – That the Education Committee be asked to report as to the possibility of continuing the tenancy of the Aldershot Allotments Association on the Aldershot Manor Estate for a further period of one year from the 31st March next, as in the opinion of the committee such land should not be required for educational purposes for a considerable period of time.

Children’s Playground (Municipal Gardens):- will close on the 31st March next

Aldershot Green: – will close on the 31st March next and that the various allotment holders be offered allotments on the Aldershot Sewage Farm.

Municipal Gardens – the tenancy of the two allotments at present held by the caretakers of the Municipal Gardens and Fire Brigade be extended for a further period of one year from 31st March next.

The Association is required to provide the Registrar of Friendly Societies with an annual report of receipts and expenditure within six months of the end of a financial year. In November, the Aldershot and District Allotment Association, Ltd and its secretary Edward Eldridge of Park Road, Aldershot were summoned to the Aldershot Police Court, for failing to send to the Registrar of Friendly Societies an annual report of receipts and expenditure for the year ending 31st January 1921 despite several requests to do so..  The Association was fined £2 with 9s costs.  Mr E Eldridge was given two weeks to provide the audited accounts.

The court met after two weeks but Mr Eldridge did not attend, he was accused of not providing the returns within the two weeks and fined £2 with 9s costs.  Mr Eldridge went to Court later and showed the judge the receipt for the deposit of the returns within the two week period and asked for his fine to be repaid back to him.

In December 1921, the 4th annual meeting was held at the Allotments Buildings, near the National School, High Street.  Topics covered included the financial loss made at the Flower and Vegetable Show although this had been made up by whist drives, etc.  The Association were having trouble getting plot rents from its members and as a result plot rents were to be collected in advance in future.  Mr Eldridge (secretary) and Mr Danpure (chairman) stood down from the committee.  Mr O’Dell recommended affiliation to the National Union of Allotment Holders of which he was a member of the executive. Dr Edythe Lindsay was elected president as the former president Mrs Alexander had moved away from the area and could no longer stand.

Doctor Edythe Marjorie Stuart LINDSAY M.B Ch.B S.Glas, wife of David Lauder LRCP & S Edin LRFP & S.Glas had a business address of 55 Victoria Road and they were both physicians and surgeons.  They were both mentioned in Kelly’s Directories for 1915, 1924 and Edythe was mentioned in the 1931 and 1935 editions as honorary anaesthetist at the Aldershot Hospital.  Also a Craig John LINDSAY M.B Ch.B DPH and Medical Officer of Health were recorded in 1935 and 1939. Could this have been a son?

An Edythe M S Lindsay is recorded as having died in 1948 at age 78 in the registration district of Richmond Surrey.

George William CHANDLER, Pork Butcher and Dairyman, of 91 High Street were elected Chairman.

1922 Season 

The new Allotments Act 1922 required that Councils co-opt a third to one half of the Council Allotment Committee members from local allotment holders if the population was greater than 10,000.  The Parks & Allotments Committee objected to clause 13 as co-opted members would be involved in fixing rents and security of tenure. The Council concurred.

At the 5th Annual General Meeting held in September 1922, outstanding plot rents were discussed and that the decision to enforce payment of rent in advance had proved successful.

There had been a considerable fall in prices of seed potatoes between the dates of purchase and delivery. When the seed potatoes were received, they were found unsuitable for seed with a large percentage diseased.  The vendors were not disposed to admit their liability, but compensation had been received since the balance sheet had been prepared.

The Coal Club was no longer running at this time.

A Mr Hull, member of the committee proposed that they put up candidates for the local elections in order to get them on the Allotments Committee.  Mr S Danpure & Mr F Watter, stood as Labour candidates for the East ward in local elections. They were not successful.

1923 Season 

In January 1923, the Borough Council reported that use of the following allotment grounds could be continued:-

  1. Highfield Avenue, 71/2 acres – (Messrs. Drivers, Jonas and Co).- To continue, subject to six months’ notice if the land should be required for building purposes.
  2. Church Hill, 2 1/2 acres – (Messrs. Drivers, Jonas and Co). – To continue, subject to six months’ notice if the land should be required for building purposes.
  3. Crown Estate. 10 acres – (Mr. A Wells). – Land to revert to owner on 31st March, but owner agrees to make arrangements with present tenants to continue their tenancy on payment of rent direct to him. (The Crown estate the land where Avondale, Southmead, Brockenhurst and Northbrook Roads now exist.). Building started soon after.
  4. North Town, 7 acres – (Mr. H W. Brake) – Land to revert to owner on 31st March, but that he will be prepared to deal with tenants direct. (The Belle Vue and Holly Roads area)
  5. North Town Recreation Ground (Borough Council) – To continue for a further year from 31st March next.
  6. Manor Park (Aldershot Education Committee) – To continue definitely until March 1924.

Over the next few months, a number of other owners reported that their land could continue being used for the time being and Councillor Underwood offered 2 acres of land for allotments at Ayling Hill at £4 per acres.

  1. B. G. Cullen – Tenancy of land at Ash Road to be allowed to continue until the plots are required for building purposes.
  2. Junior Army and Navy Stores – Continuation of tenancy of piece of land in High Street, but will deal direct with tenants.
  3. G. Hall, Alton – Declining to continue tenancy of land in Station Road East, such land being the subject of sale by auction
  4. Mr, R. Aylward, St. Joseph’s Road. – Tenancy to continue at three months’ notice.
  5. B. Cullen, Ash Road. – Tenancy to continue at three months’ notice.
  6. J. May, Ash Road. – Tenancy to continue at three months’ notice.
  7. F. W Leat, North Lane – Will deal direct with tenants on similar lines.
  8. Aldershot Co-operative Society, North Lane. – Will deal direct with tenants on similar lines.
  9. G. Hall, East Station Road. – Land in auctioneers’ hands.
  10. Exors, Mr. J. Coleman, Coleman Road – Tenancy to continue.
  11. , Mr. W. Trimmer, East Station Road. – Tenancy to continue at three months’ notice.
  12. W. Rubick, St. Joseph’s Road. – Unsatisfactory.
  13. Army and Navy Stores, High Street. – Tenancy to continue at three months’ notice. .
  14. C. E. Tanner, Herrett Street. – Tenancy to continue at three months’ notice
  15. J. Charkham, Highfield Avenue. – Tenancy to continue at three months’ notice.
  16. Owner unknown, Highfield Road – In communication with solicitors.
  17. H. W, Brake, North Town. – Asking too much rent

The Association had changed its affiliation to The National Union of Allotment Holders Ltd, Buckingham Street, Strand, London and the Rule book was updated accordingly on the 23rd April 1923, The registered office was recorded as the Allotment Buildings, High Street, Aldershot.

The 6th Annual General Meeting held in July reported 345 members, a slight drop on last year. The Coal Club had been re-established. The Secretary pointed out that sooner or later the Association would have to buy land for the use of members, and he also looked forward to the time when the Association would have its own building. A question was raised concerning the lease of allotments at North Town, which expires next march, and the Chairman, Councillor G W Chandler, who owns the land called Oldhurst Moor stated that he could not let it on such a long lease as previously, but he would let it on a yearly tenancy or he would sell the land to the Association, and in any case he would put no obstacle in the Association’s way, and would do everything he could to meet the members.

In November, the Association held a concert in aid of funds in the Wesley Hall, Queen’s Road, at which the prizes won by the members during the 1923 season were distributed. The select programme consisting of various items both instrumental and vocal were much enjoyed.

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