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.

We started the Radbourne Walk clean up in February 2014 and held monthly volunteering days on the first Saturday of each month. We worked on one section at a time the volunteers removed litter, rubble, metal, plastic and glass. We found a lot more rubbish than expected and created enough rubbish for two skips. We cleaned the tarmac path to remove muddy puddles and turned over the soil and introduced wildflower annuals to the front section in four main areas. We removed unwanted plant species like Japanese Knotweed and we also added Stag beetle areas with log piles dug into the ground.

In November 2013 Christina Fox came to me with an idea to improve the path that runs beside the Allotments. I will let her explain How it all began . . .
Greater than the sum of their parts. If you try neat gin it's not that great, neither is tonic water. But, when you put the two together you have a winner. Sometimes ideas are like that. One on its own won't go anywhere - but put two discoveries together and you might have something special.
Inspiring moment No 1...

The Radbourne Walk Enhancement Plan
Environment creation
The first of the three main aims in the footpath enhancement plan is to turn this neglected area into a visually attractive and colourful place. To create an immediate impact with plants, I recommend using selective native cornfield annuals. One benefit of using annual plants is that they will grow quickly from seed within one year. Another important benefit of these plants is that in the long-term these species will eventually die out unless the soil is annually turned over.

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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