History

Northfields Allotments has a history going back near 200 years. The articles in this section are the result of research by some of out plot holders into how the site came about, how it evolved of the years and it's place amongst the community in Ealing as that, too, developed.

A new heritage feature has been created at Northfield allotments, with thanks to the plot holders for allowing it to be restored.
The shed has been restored by Simon Coleman, keeping its original shape and feel. This old shed was crammed with fruit boxes. The boxes were probably used to store vegetables or fruit on the plot. The large grape vine on the plot where the shed was built may hint at the fruit the boxes stored in summers past on our historic allotment.

In 2018 I took on a restoration of an old shed located at the south end of Northfield allotments. This shed is in area where the No.1 plot was situated when the allotments were first created in 1832. At that time the allotments were on both sides of Northfield avenue and this side was referred to as the “East” whilst across the road was known as “West & North” sides.

The Restoration of the shed began in spring 2017. It was believed by the restorer, Simon Coleman that the shed had special value to the allotments. During the excavation items were found dating back to the 1920’s. It was physically impossible to get inside the shed as large amounts of soil had been piled around the door area. This had allowed it to be preserved for possibly the last 20 years. The public can visit this shed on our Summer open days in July.

Ealing’s Allotments
During World War II, allotments were in great demand and by 1945 there were around 1.4 million allotments in Great Britain. In the 1930s the UK imported over 70% of its food and the threat from German U-Boats on food imports encouraged the government to create a campaign to help feed the country.
The ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign was launched in October 1939 and set out to empower people to grow their own food.

Shows the boot of a labourer turning the soil with a spade

EARLY APPEARANCE - In 1832 Northfields would have looked very different from today. There were very few houses around North field lane (as it was know) A lot of early plot holders came from Brentford. In 1800 the surrounding fields were all arable land which would have been used for growing crops, there were Meadow fields where Walpole park is now situated.

We have created two history videos for the allotments and surrounding area.

The first video is the "History of Northfield Allotments" or to give the allotments their earlier name Ealing Dean Common Allotments

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.

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

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

There is no photographic evidence from the 1830's when the allotment was first created. The 1832 map of Ealing Dean Common shows what is believed to be a series of drainage ditches between the road and the common (which would become the allotments). It is likely that a wooden fence created the boundary around the allotments although we have found no written evidence to support this at this time. There is a mention of the "ditch" in a letter written around 1860's. This letter refers to the ditch as unsafe.

How did the Ealing Dean Common look in 1832?

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