Dig for Victory

The new decade opened with a commitment at the AGM on December 6th 1940 to put up to £75 of the Association’s funds into War Bonds or War Savings Certificates. (Ref 5). Yet everyday life continued with the main recorded issue in a Committee meeting (12/8/41) being ‘many complaints heard about dogs at the Annual Inspection Meeting in June’. Warning notices about dogs to be on leads were subsequently posted on the gates.

During the War years women and children were more active on the site. One example is recalled by Bill Biddle, still a member in 2019. He described how the family of one member, Don Astill from Northcote St, would tend the allotments while he was on service for four years in the Middle East. ‘His wife kept them up with the help of the children’ Bill said.

The Inspection Meeting of June 1942 stated ‘on the whole gardens are considered to be satisfactory but portions of many left something to be desired. Some gardens are exceptionally good’. Three years into the war, that sounds pretty reasonable. Alderman Mason stressed the war effort at the AGM in 1943, held on December 3rd. He was pleased to hear of so many winning prizes in Garden Competitions. ‘You are really doing two good acts in one’, he said, ‘acting patriotically as well as providing food for your homes’. He was reflecting a Government campaign led by a Ministry of Agriculture campaign with a 1939 broadcast calling for ‘Dig for Victory’.