WW1 Allotments in Glasgow
Throughout the project we will be researching the history of Glasgow’s First World War allotments, both the ones that are still here and the ones that have closed. Using records from the city archives, information from site associations and maps, we will be piecing together the story of our city’s allotments.
During the rationing and food shortages of the First World War, potatoes became a very important food. Potatoes were not rationed and everyone was encouraged to grow their own in gardens or allotments.
So far War & Peas has been focused on what was happening at home in Scotland, but this post explores how Germany was also affected by food shortages – especially a shortage of potatoes.
The dawn of the allotment in Britain far pre-dates WW1. It is steeped in a history of food provision and the labouring poor’s right to feed themselves.
The Merrylee Allotments were laid out in 1917 on land belonging to Pollok Estates. There were 80 plots of 200 square yards each. All of them were taken up immediately for an annual rent of four shillings and three pence.
Glasgow Corporation agreed to lay out an allotment site in Victoria Park on 17th January 1917, and in February it expanded to take in another two acres of ground north of the Fossil Grove.
Springburn is important in the history of allotments in Glasgow: the first allotment site recorded on the 1858 Ordnance Survey was at the Cowlairs Works for workers and was situated between Palermo Street and Ayr Street in Springburn.