Maps of Ealing Dean 1741-1865
London's oldest surviving allotment is facing the threat of being built on thanks to plans by its landlord to construct a new housing development on part of the allotment site.
We desperately need to raise funds to pay for legal and specialist advice to help save our much loved allotments.
If you can spare just a few pound we would be very grateful for your help and support.
In early September 2016 the charity, Pathways, contacted plotholders at Northfield Allotments in Ealing to announce its proposal to build on 10% of the allotments. The development would include a five to six story block of social housing and four houses for sale to help fund the development.
Northfield Allotments are the oldest allotments in London. They were given by the Bishop of London to the people of Ealing in 1832, and are held as a permanent endowment. The charity Pathways is our landlord and the site is managed by a committee of seven plotholders. There are 141 plots.
The plotholders are a diverse range of ages and nationalities. Twenty nine of our plotholders live in flats – this is their only garden. We have around 50 children who have a safe place to play and learn about fruit and veg and get a chance to see tadpoles, stag beetles, bats and hedgehogs.
There are more than 25 pensioners who have a place to grow their own food and there is always company, someone to talk to. You are never alone when you have an allotment. People are friendly here and we share seedlings and produce.
We have counted 27 different nationalities – the only qualification to getting a plot is a love of gardening and the patience to wait on our waiting list (currently 72 people).
The hedgerow around the site is around 900m long and has been designated, by Ealing Borough council, a SINC - Site of Interest for Nature Conservation. It is an important and safe habitat for our hedgehogs, many nesting birds and insects. The allotments are a habitat for stag beetles, which are endangered and protected. With perfect timing the many visitors to our Halloween open day saw our bats flying around the site catching night flying insects.
On the 25th September at a special general meeting, the plotholders unanimously voted to oppose Pathways’ plans to concrete over the allotments.
We understand that social housing is important – but so are green open spaces. It shouldn’t have to be a choice of one or the other. We believe Pathways’ trustees have not fully considered alternatives to their proposal to ‘temporarily’ move 18 residents into what will be a permanent development on the allotments.
We believe a permanent endowment should be permanent.
The original allotments were much larger than they are today: 60% of the allotments were lost in the 1970s due to compulsory purchase by the council and building by Pathways. Our concern is that if planning permission is granted this time around it will be easier to lose more allotment land in the future as the pressure for housing so close to a Crossrail station increases.
When we lose green space we never get it back.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Please write to your local councillors to let them know what you think of the proposal.
- Write to the Ealing Gazette and Ealing and Northfield forums.
- Sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with what is going on.
- We need specialist help, especially once the plans are submitted to Ealing Council. This will cost money. So, please help by donating whatever you can to our fighting fund.
Please help us protect the allotments for another 184 years.
Many thanks for all your help and support.
The Ealing Dean Allotment Society.
I’m going to leave the final word to Fran, one of our plotholders (who will lose her plot if the development goes ahead)…
“My allotment means a lot to me - we live in a third floor social housing flat with no access to a garden of our own. In 18 months my daughter and I have transformed the plot from weeds and brambles to our own little patch of heaven and my daughter has learned so much she never would have been able to before, from where our food comes from to the lifecycle of the frog - and she now wants to be a gardener when she grows up.”
Here are a series of Maps of Ealing Dean from 1741 to 1865. The earlier maps show Ealing Dean Common and after 1832 they show the Parish Allotments which are were know as Ealing Dean Common allotments, then later Ealing Dean Allotments and more commonly these days Northfileds Allotments.
1741 - The first map is from 1741-5 by Jon Rocque. Details in the Map show the pond where St. John Church later would stand and a possible building opposite the pond. A few building appear on the Uxbridge road.
1777 - The next map from 1777. There is a pond shown in what is now Dean Gardens near the Uxbridge road. This map was updated in 1822 with more information. There appears to be two dwellings later shown to be on the land owned by Mr. William. Nichols who was the Church Treasurer and Overseer in 1822.
1800 - The next map is from 1800 by Thomas Milne. The map concentrates on the Land Use and therefore gives valuable information regarding the land surrounding the Ealing Dean Common. The common itself is shown as "white" and it this time it was Common land. The land both sides of the common are shown as "Arable Land" which usually refers to "land capable of being ploughed and used to grow crops". The pond where St. John's church later stands is clearly visible and what appears to be a building at the top of the field opposite the pond.
1803 - This Ordnance survey map dates from 1803-05. It was frequently recopied and shown as a later map. This map show the Radbourne Stream flowing down the right side of North field lane. It is known that the Radbourne stream originates from Castle bar hill but its exact path is still unknow. My personal belief is that it runs down Northfield avenue in the road itself in a culvert until the current Doctors surgery where it turns left into Dudley Gardens and then later turning right into St. Aidan's Road.
1822 - This Map from 1822 was based on the earlier 1777 map. The real interesting part of this map is all the written details on the map border with references to people and places. It appears to me that this map was originally made in colour but we only have a black and white copy.
1832 - The map is important for the allotments because it shows the Ealing Dean Common just before it was turned over to allotments for the poor. A structure can be seen on the top right of the common which was Mr Hill's dwelling. Ponds can also be seen at top right and bottom left of the common. The pond where St John church stands appears large in size and my well be fed by water from the Radbourne stream. It is believed that this map was commissioned for the change of use of the common to allotments.
1865 - By this time the allotments had existed for some 30 years or more and it is interesting to see the two ponds are still shown as well as the house in the top right of the allotment. St. John's church still had not been built but more and more houses were appearing. The West Ealing "Pound" for stray livestock is shown along the Uxbridge road.
All Maps curtsey of Ealing Local History centre