Breaking New Ground
Nineteenth Century Allotments from Local Sources
Date of publication: May 2010
Publisher: Family & Community Historical Research Society
This book offers important new evidence about the history of 19th century allotments, and shows how deeply embedded they were in rural society. Based on a nationwide research project, Breaking New Ground reveals that allotments were numerous and widespread, cherished not only by agricultural labourers, but also by tradesmen, artisans and industrial workers. They were not just a means of alleviating poverty, but a major institution of Victorian village life.
The fifteen chapters include detailed local studies of how allotments developed all over England - in East Anglia, the West Country, southern England, the Midlands and elsewhere. Aspects of allotment history, little explored before, come under the spotlight: the moral dimension of allotment rules; the link between allotments and riots; the intervention of paternalistic employers; and the people's desire for allotments to replace lost rights of common.
Accompanying the book is a CD containing a database of over 3,000 allotment sites, by far the most comprehensive yet published, and nearly 1,000 allotment tenants, of particular interest to local and family historians. This important new book, the outcome of work by the Family & Community Historical Research Society, will change the way we look at 19th-century allotments.