By Zubeida Mustafa
In the UK, Allotments – small plots of lands given to a number of individuals for cultivation — are said to have been around for centuries. But it was only in the nineteenth century when this concept was regularized by law to give industrial workers land to grow their own food. In 1908 the Small Holdings and Allotments Act made it mandatory for the local authorities to provide allotments to the people when a demand exists.
The Berridale Allotments in the heart of Glasgow that I visited were launched in their present form in 1939. Before that the land had been used as a playground until it was sold to Laidlaw’s to build houses in 1937. The construction work was stopped when it was feared that there might be flooding from the river nearby. Hence Laidlaw’s Trust rented out the land to the Allotments committee which was formed in 1937. The committee later on purchased the land from the Trust in1947-48. The development of the infrastructure was incremental.
- 1964 The Royal Naval base at Abbotsinch contributed the hut and members added the kitchen and toilets.
- 1965-66 Water pipes and stands were instated. Previously water was used from the river.
- George Ronald, treasurer and secretary until 1965, was presented a long service plaque which is displayed in the hut and the trophy for which members compete on “Open Day” is named after George Ronald.
The constitution of the Berridale Allotments & Gardens Association defines its aim to be the cultivation of vegetables, fruits and flowers by the allotment holders.
The Association is run by six office bearers plus nine committee members elected for three years by the Annual General Meeting. It lays down comprehensive rules regulating pets, children, delivery of goods, sale of products, sanitation and so on.
Based on material provided by Robert Spiers