Allotments Social

Club and Institute Annual Show 4th September 1948


Held at the Working Men’s Club the open show prizes were won as follows:-

Round Potatoes – W Bell, Kidney Potatoes – D Sidebottom, White Cabbage – R Ellis, Onions Green Top – A Ashton, Onions Open – S Gibson, Cauliflower – F Riby, Globe Beetroot – W Bell, Apples – H Green,
Celery – D Sidebottom, Carrots – J Kaye, Leeks – H Harrison, Shallots – W Bell, Tomatoes –
J Tegerdine, Chrysanthemums – R Ellis, Dahlias – R Ellis, Pom Poms – H Cowburn, Asters – J Tegerdine, Vase of Flowers – S Harrison.

In the members classes prizes went to the following:-

Tray of Veg and Special – W Wright, Parsnips – D Sidebottom, Buttonhole – J Tegerdine,
Runner Beans – CH Martin, Kidney Beans – W Hewitt, Red Cabbage – D Sidebottom, Eggs – W Bell,
Long Beet – D Sidebottom,
The exhibits were then sold by the Secretary (Mr CH Martin) and eleven guineas was raised for the Club & Inst
Homes Fund.

Allotments Social

Harrogate Flower Show 2006

There we were looking at exotic flowers, water features, garden furniture and everything imaginable for the keen gardener.

A visit to the produce hall to see the competition marrows, leeks and the like was quietly interesting but imagine my surprise to see that famous horticulturalist from Methley, Frederick Worth, Esq. walking in through the entrance. Fred had just come into the hall to see how his shallot entries had fared. It was no surprise really to me when we walked to the shallot entries to learn that he had won both first and third prize in class 107 – large shallots.
Congratulations Fred.

Mind, I shouldn’t wonder if he hasn’t won more times since then (2017).

Allotments Social

Hen Run 1948

The Council had decided to build a number of bungalows for the elderly on the allotments along Station Road.    There were no objectors with the exception of Johnny Naylor who had a perfectly good manufactured hen house complete with external nesting boxes and all mod cons on his lot with little chance of a sale.

That is until Tommy (Thackray) had a look at it and he bought it for next to nowt along with the problem of how to transport it to our allotment adjacent to the Mulberry Bridge.     Plant hire was out of the question (1940/50’s). Dismantling, transporting and re-erection wasn’t much of an option either, as it would have likely destroyed the unit.

I don’t know who came up with the solution, but it was wooden pit props as rollers with a team of neighbours carrying the props from the rear to the front of the shed and the shed pushed along on the rollers.

It must have looked like Noah’s Ark to the regulars of the Royal Oak as it sedately passed the large bay windows (this was before the road camber had been built up).    Then a sharp left turn into Bondfield Terrace -To me, To you, Left a bit, Whoa – and a few more right angled turns much to the entertainment of the residents. We finally made it including the steep down incline at the bottom of the construction that was to become The Hollings.

Finally it was positioned with a lot of straining and levelling on an old raspberry patch on our allotment along with loads of kids and stooks of straw.

Can’t say I was all that happy, it was my chore to clean the hen muck out once a week. I did enjoy however, the trip to Selby market for 48 bright yellow chicks and watching them develop over the months.

20th Century Allotments Social

Bringing Home the Bacon

Pre-war public health legislation was framed to improve hygiene by preventing the local slaughter of animals from allotments and ordering that such action should take place in approved slaughter houses. Difficult to enforce with the thousands of allotment holders who reared pigs. Impossible to enforce during wartime when all were being encouraged to grow and produce food for the war effort. Allotment husbandry of pigs continued after the war and along with it remained the need to slaughter the animals locally for economic reasons.

My wife tells me the amusing story of having to go to the telephone box as a twelve year old to ring for the man to bring the boar to the sow because her Father couldn’t use the call box.

Competition was keen in those days for left over food from the school kitchen and the pit canteen.
When it came to needing the bacon the cost of sending a single or small number of animals to an abattoir was economically unviable and the practice of local slaughter continued for some time.

Picture the view for three ten year olds from the top of a converted midden, Len Cox had unloaded a large half wooden vat which was being filled with buckets of hot water. The pig was led out of the sty with the aid of a ‘twitch’ to an area covered with fresh straw. The animal was squealing, it must have known its fate the squealing stopped suddenly when the humane killer was applied to the brain.    The animal although dead would continue to give powerful nervous twitches of the limbs and the two Cox brothers had to be careful whilst lifting the carcass onto a one wheeled bench known as a ‘stretch’ and then loaded into the vat. A slash on the throat provided a gush of bright red blood into a container which would go to making black pudding. Now the two brothers used circular scrapers not unlike pastry cutters to shave the hair off the pigs skin, which would in time make some great ‘crackling’.

The carcass was now salted and wheeled into an outhouse to be hung by the back trotters to enable it to be split and disembowelled (nothing was wasted) and left overnight before the big knives were out for quartering the next day. Gripping viewing for a few ten year olds.

A slaughterman had to pay one shilling annually for a licence and the pigs owner was required to surrender a ration book on completion. Remember during the war and immediately post war, everybody, housewives included, waited eagerly for some bacon and pork to supplement the rations….
Thanks to Keith Cox and Freddie Worth for providing the names of some of the items used including a ‘Cameral’ which was the joist with the eyes or hooks that the pig was suspended on.
To view one of these, call in the Bridge Inn at Whitwood and see the large section joist supporting one of the bars. The late landlord, Harry Topliss told me that the timber was obtained from a derelict property at Methley Junction. Which I guess could have been Pindergreen Farm.