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949 of 1160 nominations



Is this an icon?



The English allotment had its heyday during the Second World War when the government’s Dig for Victory campaign persuaded people to beat fresh fruit and veg shortages by growing their own. As townspeople went back to the land to feed their families, the number of allotments soared to over a million. These small areas of land reserved for urban farming go back further than this though. The Allotment Act of 1887 meant that local authorities were obliged to provide allotments if there was a demand – and they have played a part in English life ever since. The number of allotments fell dramatically after the end of the war in 1945, but recent years have seen a surge in interest, as people look for ways of growing cheap organic food and an escape from the stresses of modern life. Most local authorities in England have allotments for rent – give your local council a call and get digging!

Photo: Maria Gibbs


Your comments

Allotments represent several things in the national character. Firstly the quiet moment - getting away from it all. Secondly an abiding interest in gardening which is iconic in its own right. Thirdly when we were at war we fell back on our ability to produce our own food.

Giselle Underhill

Quick comment: they aren't uniquely English. Just travel by train almost anywhere in northern Europe and you will see them.
Pat Hayes

Uniquely British. Amazingly anacronistic given that they are often in areas of prime real estate. or along side railway lines, etc. Sanctuary for stressed people... a chance to get away from it all or perhaps socialise. Amazing testimony to the honesty of the british people that people rarely stole stuff from allotments. also a place where urban wildlife flourished.
Gareth Denyer

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My nomination is the garden shed.