Of Cabbages and Kings: The History of Allotments, by Caroline Foley.

I recently found a copy of this in a second hand bookshop.  It is a bit of a whistle top tour.  Her book “encompasses a broad swathe of history” and “takes great strides through the past ten centuries.”  She shows how allotments were affected by forces and events in the world, like wars and revolutions (violent and industrial) which appear to have little to do with growing vegetables.  Consequently she does not spend much time in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the time most relevant to the history of NSHS, and I didn`t find out anything I didn`t know already.  But I was very taken with her approach.  In her introduction she described “a story of greed and power, of hunger, protest and the struggle for a fairer society,” and how the fact that allotments exist at all for us to rent and cultivate are the result of past generation struggle for the right to have land to grow food.  So, I am thinking how important it is not to take allotments for granted, and to make sure the movement continues for future generations. At the present time allotments are seen as a lifestyle choice and a leisure activity, but it was not always so. In the past allotments were necessary for survival and maybe things will change again in the future.

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