1912 - 2017

History

In 1912 a field in Hawes Lane – yes, there were fields in West Wickham at that time! - was divided into 65 plots and in 1918 this was followed by a second field being divided into plots 66 – 94 making a total of about 7.25 acres. These fields were probably part of the Rectory land as the first mention of rent was 14.15.3d being paid to the Rector. At that time the title was the West Wickham Allotments Society which later changed to an Association. The Secretary of the Association from 1935 - 1975, Ted Jeffries, wrote a comprehensive history of WWAA in which he refers to the original plot holders as ‘Old Villagers’ which gives an idea of the rural nature of the area at that time.

There were reports in 1925 that the site may be put up for sale and in 1926 the site was purchased by Mr G F Rogers as he wished to preserve his outlook from his house, The Mount, later re-named Tudor Court. A five year agreement was made whereby Mr Rogers was paid 25 a year rental for the site and this was sub-let to plot-holders at 8d per rod. A rod is an ancient unit of measure, approx. 16.5 feet (5 metres).

In 1936 part of the site was taken to provide Glebe Way and the plots taken were replaced by the Council buying land known as the Smallholding between the site and Seabrook Drive gardens. This proved to be 'Good news- Bad news' as the area was full of couch grass to the despair of the plot holders!

In 1937 individual plot holders became direct tenants of the Council and West Wickham came under the control of Beckenham Council which insisted on buying the land in Hawes Lane. As the Council had a statutory duty to provide allotments the idea to buy the existing plots seemed a simple way of fulfilling this duty.

The original water supply on the site was in half-inch galvanised pipe from a meter in Hawes Lane to four plots. The problem was that when the first tap was turned on the others didn’t have any, so water had to be rationed on summer evenings by Ted Jeffries standing by the taps for 20 minutes a time. In January 1939 the Council came up with the 'generous' idea of supplying materials for a better supply if the plot holders did the work of digging the trenches and filling them after the council workmen laid the pipes.

It was decided in 1938 to build a Trading Shed and donations were made to fund this – the timber and roofing felt cost 14! The lockers were first erected in 1949 by volunteers with the council supplying the materials.

WWAA became a fully self managed association in 1970.

Our thanks and acknowledgements to the Late Ted Jeffries whose history of WWAA has enabled us to produce the above.