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History Timeline

1862

Our
first secretary, William Ballard Rainbow was Born.

1889

William
Ballard Rainbow
married Elizabeth Barr.

21st July 1909

Coventry Gardeners & Small Holders Federation Ltd Founded.

President, C S Ralli Esq: Chairman, Councillor W H Halliwell: Vice-Chairman, A Castle: Treasurer, H L Curzons: Secretary, W B Rainbow:
Offices, 10 Cash's Lane.

The Federation is the recognised representative authority for Small Holdings
& Allotments in the District. It has direct representation on the
Small Holdings & Allotments Committee of the Coventry City Council, by
the appointment thereon of three co-opted representatives of which the
London Road Allotments Ltd are affiliated to.

1912-13

London Road Allotments Ltd - 220 members with a share capital of 660 x 10
Shilling shares, cultivating 22 acres of land on a 14 year's lease from
the Coventry City Council, and 3 acres on an annual tenancy from the
Selson Engineering Company Ltd.

Selson Engineering Company Ltd

In the Photograph above the allotment gardens can clearly be seen surrounding the west &
south side of the industrial buildings.

The Selson Engineering Company Ltd was located in St Georges Road between the
Gosford Park Hotel and  Grocery store at No 134, this area is now
occupied by a housing estate known as Firedrake Croft which is situated
between Northfield Road & Humber Avenue.

Secretary
W B Rainbow, 10 Cash's Lane

1914

The Coventry Loop Line is opened.

1914 - 1918

When the 1914-18 war
broke out, there was a demand for allotments and the committee was
successful in obtaining more land from the Coventry Corporation, which
extended to Folly Lane ( now Humber Road ) and the Railway and the Pinley
side ( Castle Hill South ) the East Side now part of the Seven
Stars Industrial Estate
.

21st December 1931

Permission requested by
the London Road Allotment Society Ltd to carry out certain drainage works.

26th June 1933

Mr W B Rainbow
stated that the London Road Allotment Society are anxious to be relieved
of the tenancy of a small field of about 3 acres near the tunnel under the
Coventry Loop Line, which owing to the situation and the nature of the
soil, is not suitable for allotment purposes. The Society asked whether
the land would be of use for any Corporation activities.

20th November 1933

Permission requested by
the London Road Allotment Society to remove certain trees. This was
referred to the Estates and Parliamentary Committee as they had ultimate
control over the land.

31st March 1939

A statement by the Coventry Small Holdings and Allotments Subcommittee.

The total area of
Allotments provided is approximately 265 acres. Of this, approximately 79
acres are let to individual tenants and the remaining 186 acres are let to
Allotment Societies.

19th September 1938

Notification received of
the Humber Road widening scheme. The road is to be widened to 64 feet, for
which the London Road Allotment Society will lose approximately 700 sq
yards. The area of the lease is 50 acres. The Society will be offered a
new lease of 47 acres for 14 years from the 25th March 1939. The
annual tenancy will be apportioned by the loss of 3 acres.

28th February 1951

A letter was written to R Britain by the Council explaining that they had approved a piece
of land for allotment purposes situated in Shortley Road and which was
used by the parks department as a nursery garden. The frontage of the land
on to Shortley Road is to be used for building purposes. The letter asks
if this can be discussed by the London Road Allotment Association
Committee to approve responsibility and to administer the new allotment
site.

30th November 1983

The East
side
( Castle Hill South ) which stretched from Humber Road,
alongside the Railway Track  towards Allard Way is taken back by
Coventry Council for the Severn Stars Industrial Estate development. This
reduces the site to about 32 acres.

27th June 2001

The London Road Allotment
Association appears in the Guardian Newspaper.

"Roots of
revolution

All ages, all
backgrounds, both sexes - the notion of the allotment as a working-class
male preserve is rapidly being turned over. Chris Arnot reports

Chris
Arnot

Wednesday June 27, 2001
Guardian

Even Coventry, with
its skilled working-class traditions, has allotment-holders who are
surprisingly mixed in terms of professional background. A visit to the
city's London Road site, once the biggest spread of plots in Britain,
found that among those tilling the soil were the manager of the Belgrade
Theatre's Arts Alive?, a science student, a retired company director, a
health and safety officer and three young journalists - one of whom was a
former features editor of the News of the World. So much for
stereotypes."

17th August 2007

The London Road Allotment
Association is featured in the Coventry Telegraph.

A taste of the good
life

By Jane
Stirland

YOUNGSTERS from the
age of three up to teenagers are getting a taste of the good life on
allotments in Coventry. Plots at the London Road allotments in Whitley -
once the preserve of old men in flat caps - are in now in hot demand for
young families. June Squires, aged 45, whose husband Paul is site
secretary, said: "When we first came here 18 years ago, we must have been
the youngest people on the site, but over the last 12 months we have seen
a real change. "We now have a lot of young families with children and lady
gardeners. "I think it is down to all the publicity about eating healthy,
organic food and the River Cottage programmes on TV. "Once it was all
about old men sitting in their sheds. "Now the plots have swings and
benches and on a good day you can smell the barbecues. "Some people even
keep a few chickens. "The plots have become extensions of people's gardens
and at £35 a year, including water rates, it's a very cheap way to get
yourself some extra land. "People can't believe it when I tell them the
cost; they think I am quoting them for a month!" For June and Paul, who
live in Stoke, the allotment is a real family affair. They are joined on
the plot by Paul's dad Peter Squires, aged 72, their daughter Lisa, aged
26, granddaughter Georgia Squire-Bloor, aged four, and Lisa's partner,
Barry Bloor, aged 28. Then there is June's sister-in-law Sharon Totten and
her daughters, twins Jessica and Rebecca, aged 11 and Sophia, aged four.
June said: "The oldest plot holder is Wally Salisbury who is 85 and cycles
here every day from his home in Cheylesmore. "His shed is like Aladdin's
cave, whatever you need, he can supply it, along with lots of good advice.
"He has been here for 60 years. "The allotments are the most beautiful
place, you would never think you were near a main road, it is so quiet.
"And we have lots of wildlife, birds, foxes, pheasants, rabbits, even
monkjack deer." June and fellow plotholders have this week been busy
cutting hedges and sprucing up the site for their first open day tomorrow.
There are some vacancies at the allotments where there is a concessionary
price of £20 a year for OAPs and Passport to Leisure holders. Anyone
interested should call at the trading hut at the site any Saturday
morning. People can also visit their website at London Road Allotments

CONDUCTED tours of the
London Road allotments will take place from 9am until 3pm tomorrow.

There will be a sale
of fruit, vegetables and plants grown on the site, home-made cakes,
refreshments and a tombola.

Plotholder June
Squires said: "Local businesses have been very good about donating prizes
and we would like to say thankyou to them all."

Entry is free and
there will be a donation from the sale of produce to the Coventry
Telegraph's Snowball Appeal which helps children in need in Coventry and
Warwickshire.

Entry to the site will
be from Humber Road.

18th August 2007

The London Road Allotment
Association's first Open Day is held.

22nd December 2007

Father Christmas visits
the London Road Allotment Association.

 12th April 2008

The London Road Allotment
Association's Seed Swap Event is held.

17th June 2008

The London Road Allotment
Association is featured in the Coventry Telegraph.

Allotments
- the hip and trendy place to hang out
Jun 17 2008 By Warren Manger


IMAGINE a traditional allotment and you could be forgiven for
picturing old men in flat caps drinking tea in their potting sheds and
listening to the radio.
Think again. Allotments are no longer outdoor
old boys clubs.
They are now highly valued by families and young
professionals alike as an oasis of countryside amidst the busy roads and
towerblocks of city life.
They are also the front line of the green
revolution which is taking place in cities and towns across the country,
including right here in Coventry and Warwickshire.
In an age when
environmentalists are urging shoppers to check where their food comes from
and buy local produce to cut pollution, many people are deciding to go one
step further and grow their own fruit and vegetables.
June Squires runs
the London Road Allotments in Humber Road, Stoke, with her husband
Paul.
The allotment has 157 plots, each of which is a generous one
eighth of an acre, giving gardeners ample space to grow their own
food.
In recent years June has noticed a sharp rise in the number of
environmentally-aware youngsters who are renting plots.
"In the last
12-18 months we have had a lot of families with young children join," she
said.
"I think there are two main reasons. A lot of them live in modern
houses with postage stamp gardens so an allotment gives them somewhere to
have a vegetable garden, flower beds and a barbecue point where they can
spend a lot of time in the summer.
"But many of them also want to live
a greener lifestyle. It's better to grow your own food so you know where
it has come from and how fresh it is."
A quick wander around the
allotments reveals just how much things have changed.
A large number of
pensioners can still be seen spending their retirement happily tending
their vegetable gardens but this is no longer a male refuge.
Many of
the elderly couples have set up swings and slides in a corner of their
plots for their grandchildren to enjoy - a sure sign that the allotments
are becoming more family orientated.
On other plots children as young
as five or six years-old sport huge grins as they help their parents to
dig the gardens.
Nearby a lithe young professional has swapped his
shirt and tie for a tracksuit to trim the hedgerow around his plot while
he listens to music on his headphones.
"When we first brought our three
children down here 19 years ago you didn't see any other children and only
one or two women," said June.
"It's completely different now. We have a
really wide range of people who use the allotments.
"There are doctors,
teachers, health and safety executives, someone who works for the Belgrade
Theatre and a guy who is a ranger at Coombe Abbey.
"It think that shows
that growing your own fruit and vegetables is something that anybody can
fit into their everyday lifestyle and enjoy."
Growing your own fruit
and vegetables on an allotment or in your own garden is a great way to cut
your carbon footprint.
Just a handful of the different foods on sale at
your local supermarket will have been grown locally and popular British
items such as tomotoes are now often imported from as far away as
Holland.
One in every four lorries and vans on Britain's roads are now
carrying food.
Compare that to 100 years ago when nearly everything
people ate was grown within 20 miles of where they lived.
This change
is bad news for the environment because transporting food now creates as
much greenhouse gas as all the power stations in the UK put
together.
By growing your own greens not only can you help cut
pollution, you can also reduce the amount of food packaging you throw away
and recycle your household waste into garden compost.
Despite growing
demand London Road Allotments still have four or five plots left.
If
you are interested in having your own allotment you can visit the site on
Humber Road, Stoke, on Saturday mornings between 8-10am for a full
tour.
For more details call the allotment on 079 4852 382.
Janet and
Peter Squires, of Lower Stoke, are one of four generations of the same
family who all have plots at the London Road Allotments.
The couple,
both retired assembly workers, got their own plot last October after
spending several years helping out on their son's.
"The allotment is
very peaceful, it's like being in another world," said Janet, aged
68.
"It is so relaxing, even when you're working."
Peter, aged 72,
said: "It's a very nice family environment - children can have freedom up
here because it is safe for them to play without you having to worry about
them."
Growing their own food is the biggest step the couple have taken
towards going green but they also prefer to buy locally grown food,
cutting down on pollution.
"We do a lot of our food shopping at the
market from two stalls and when we go we take our own bags rather than
getting new ones," said Janet.
"We have also got compost bins at home
so we recycle our waste and peelings and bring them down here to use on
the vegetables."
Allotments are becoming increasingly popular with
young families such as Lisa Squires, Barry Bloor and their five year-old
daughter Georgia.
Lisa, 27, who lives in Grafton Street, Stoke, says
the allotment is a fantastic place for the family to spend time
together.
"It is a nice way to get away from city life for a few
hours," said the teacher, who has also been promoting gardening and
digging at St Osburg's Primary School where she works.
"When you go
back into town it's surprising to see so many people, it feels
overcrowded.
"Georgia loves coming up here and helping out - she gets
upset if she can't come."
As well as growing their own food the family
try to cut their carbon footprint by avoiding imported foods.
"We do
prefer to buy local grown produce if we go to the supermarket and we try
to buy fruit like strawberries and blackberries only when they are in
season," said Lisa.
Walter (Wally) Salisbury is something of a
celebrity at the allotments after growing his own fruit and vegetables
there for 56 years.
Despite being 86 years-old he still cycles to
Humber Road every day from his home.
"I had three kids and I adopted
another four girls. In the end I had that many kids I had to find a
cheaper way to feed them and I have always been a grafter so I decided to
grow the food myself," he said.
Wally now has four plots at the
allotments, totalling half an acre, on which he grows everything from
grapes to potatoes.
"I grow far more than I can eat myself so I give
all of it away to people I meet in the street or on the bus. Everyone who
comes up here can pick what they want, " he said.
"It's very popular
because you can taste the difference between freshly picked fruit and
vegetables and frozen."


Author: Mark Wilson