Well, i can't always write about wells and pumps . . . so today i will write about a book i bought from 1937. I have a few old books on gardening/allotments which i bought because i was interested to see what was grown in years gone bye. The Gardener's Assistant by William Watson is a six volume set of books on Gardening which includes a section on allotments. There seems to be several editions of this set from 1900's onwards, i guess they are updated versions, they changed the cover etc. The book was edited not written by William Watson and the allotment section was written by G. T. Tinley.

1937 onions

This plot 164 has had a K3 semi rotary pump installed as a part of the Allotment pump project. The pump is now working and can be used by any plot holder as a water source. All water pumps need a brisk pumping action, a weak pushing of the handle will not be enough to maintain a good water flow.
You need to prime this pump with water to get it to work. To do this unscrew the metal cap on the top of the pipe work. Then use the glass bottle with water in it and pour the water into the top of the pump until it reaches the top, about half the bottle. Then re screw the metal cap and then move the handle back and forth NOT in a circular motion about five times. You will feel the pressure change and water will pour out.

Time flies so quickly... It seems like only last week that we had the April volunteer workday working on the Long Walk, the main path through the allotment.  
With over 15 people we made good progress with most of the path in the southern half of the site.  But that was April and its now virtually the start of May...

Our May volunteer day will be on Saturday 2nd May and this time we'll be working on patches of the Long Walk on the northern half of the site.  Some sections got attention last year, but still there are many areas with bumps and undulation that make it unpleasant in wet weather (and downright difficult with a loaded wheelbarrow!).

When: From 10 AM, Saturday 2nd May
Where: Meet at the double gate in the centre of the site (and right by the bus stops) - map below
Until: We usually go on till around 1PM when we'll stop for a barbeque lunch.

Installation work on this pump started in April 2105.The first thing i did was remove the very heavy concrete slab on top of the plot. It was then that i discovered that the well was half full of rubbish. The image right show the top of the well with the metal barrel construction damaged or bend over on purpose. Once i looked down into the well i could see a roll of carpet, soil and plastic flower pots.

Mr R. W. Weal was the tenant of plot 229 from 1946 until 1993 when his son Dennis Weal took over the plot. In the decades after WW2 a number of plot holders built their own wells as there was no mains water on the allotment until around 1995. Mr R Weal dug his well which is constructed of metal water tanks placed on top of each other with the bottom cut out. He also installed a K4 Semi-Rotary pump to extract the water.

Just as the EDAS committee is tackling management and maintenance problems on the allotments today, the committee set up in 1833 had to grapple with the issues of its day, gradually finding its way as it learned from experience. Fortunately, our committee does not have to deal with rent collection, the most pressing concern for our predecessors. But there is a clear parallel in getting to grip with letting the vacant plots. And do you have one of the "gravelly pieces"?

Ealing Dean Allotments Committee minutes 9 July 1835

You know sometimes you just like something, and you don’t have to have a good reason why . . . Steelydan comes to mind.
Well Allotment pumps is like that for me. I started the Allotment pump project a month or so ago and i have now completed the installation of two pumps. This is good timing because we have no mains water at this time so it gives us a chance to feel how it was in the days gone by on the allotment when they had no mains water. We have only had mains water for the last 20 years or so for the previous 160 years they had to find water from other sources, the ponds, watercourse and wells.

We will be having the first official skip of the year for plot holders on Sat. 18th April.
The skip is for plot holders to use to remove rubbish from their plots. The previous skips were filled up very quickly, within the same day, so we recommend that you get your rubbish ready to put in on the Saturday. When the skip is full we will put a tarpaulin over it. Please DO NOT leave items beside the skip. We will be having another skip in a few months time.

** Update: The skip should be on-site by 10am on Saturday morning **

As usual, we will be running a Volunteer Day on the first Saturday of the month. The next Volunteer Day will be on Saturday the 4th of April (starting at 10 am) when we will be working to restore the 'Long Walk' (this is the central path that runs the whole length of the site). After many years of muddy boots and heavy wheelbarrows it has become uneven and rutted. During winter it was very muddy and dangerously slippery.

So the sand and grass seed has been ordered and turf is on its way! This is our chance to make the path easier to walk along and, more importantly, safer for our older plot holders.

We hope you will join us to help out and feel part of our gardening community!

Volunteer Day Saturday April 4th - 10 am

Continuing my interest in "old things" my new blog continues with items that we found in the hedgerow clearance. On Saturday 7th March we had a volunteer day that cleared rubbish from the north section of the allotment by Northfield Avenue.
Amongst the plastic bottles and metal cans i was lucky to find a bit of metal that made my day.
I found a small Pick Mattock head. The name often changes from book to book but the name Pick Mattock is listed in the 1951 Brades catalogue. This head is a lot smaller than you would expect for a mattock or pick axe.

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