Society history

presented at the AGM 2009 and copied from the Spring 2010 newsletter

Thirty years ago, in 1979, an article appeared in the 'Hackney People’s Press', a now defunct free radical paper. The article was written about the borough having empty land and wanting to find a use for it. It was written by a man called Ashley Godfrey who worked in the Planning department. Some locals responded to the article suggesting allotments and an open meeting at the Town Hall was arranged.

The very first site was in a road off Mare Street. The Committee held a ballot to see who would get it — and it went to two of the frailest old ladies who looked the least likely to be able to develop it. The Council grabbed it back soon after. BUT it went on from there: Springfield was the first of the larger sites and others were collected on the way.

We have Ashley Godfrey, the Hackney Planning Officer, to thank as our godfather and Jon Fuller (our President) and Chris Waller, one of the original committee members. None of us would be at this meeting tonight if it wasn’t for this pioneering group of veg growers.

Spring Hill site had been an allotment site during the war. With the support of the National Association of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners the Council were persuaded not to charge full rates for rent of the land. Leases were negotiated and the Society was subsequently registered as a Charity in 1986. Subsequently, Aden Terrace site which was managed by Stoke Newington Gardeners Guild integrated with the Hackney Allotment Society in 1990.