1940s – Everday life on the gardens

Back to the minutes.  They become even scantier during the second world war, with no records for 1940 or 1942 and only the briefest of records from the other years.  Richard Croston continued as secretary and it maybe that he was not very conscientious, or it maybe that the organisation of the society was neglected and the allotments run down.  The effects of the second world war on the allotment movement are well documented, but there is little evidence in the NSHS minutes.  There is no mention of the Government`s Dig For Victory campaign, or of an increased demand for allotments to supplement the weekly rations.

There are a few unusual entries.  In 1941 they proposed that the gardens would be rent free the next year.  So they either had plenty of money in the bank (unlikely) or Lord Crawford was not collecting rents. That year they also proposed that Mrs Winstanley be allowed to keep a garden on.  This is the first mention of a woman having a garden.  R Winstanley, presumably her husband, is listed in the garden rents from 1929-41.  He either died or went to fight and his wife took over the allotment.  She is listed in the garden rents until 1943, but not after that, so she didn`t continue for long.  In 1943 they discussed a case of pilfering and it was decided that H. Mole be expelled from coming on the Gardens.  At a subsequent meeting they resolved that the secretary would see H. Mole junior about his father coming on the gardens after the committee had expelled him.  They also met to consider what to do about the boys who had stolen grapes and broken the glass of Mr Croston`s greenhouse and it was decided that he should have a solicitor to plead his case.

At the AGM in March 1945 there was a new secretary, Mr JW Armstrong, and the minutes become more detailed.  This was because Richard Croston had died and before any business was discussed the members present stood in silence as a tribute to his memory.  The vice president and secretary were appointed to examine his gardens and effects, make a fair valuation, and post a notice at the allotments, with a view to securing a purchase and thereby assisting the late secretary`s widow.

There were two new resolutions on 1946. One was that in the case of a member`s death his family would have priority in taking over his garden.  The other was that the disused garden in the valley be used as a tip – an arrangement which has continued until the present day.   Apart from that the NSHS allotment committee continued as usual – allocating and swopping gardens, giving permission for the erection of greenhouses and toolsheds, buying timber and reminding members that they must keep their gardens and paths in a clean state.

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