Wartime Allotments

Patriotic call for allotment holders to produce more food.

Wim & District Allotment Holders Assoc fro Wim Smallholders Assoc. – stimulated wartime food production. Nov 1917. Secr. Mr W Watts, aided by Earsfield stationmaster W Revel.

Also June 1918 – small Wim Pk society formed. Two societies came together – Sunday meetings. Previously only possible to buy seeds in bulk due to arrangements with majority of seed merchants. Lower Thames Valley Assoc of Allotment Holders set to alter this. Schedule produced and deputation sent to Food Prod Dept – and smaller quantities now issued to allotment socs. By 1918 Wim District had 1000 members. Spec concessions

e.g 1918 Assoc pressed for special allotment of sugar to growers of pumpkins, rhubarb and marrows. – helped with gardening advice, lessons for novices and help to lady allotment holders on request.


Use of recreation grounds for allotments – 50,000 pop in Wim – 1918 had 3000allotment holders. Cattle and sheep grazing Common under auspices of Council and Conservators.



Mer & Mor pre war = 260 plots by 1919 = 1200 Cncl bulk bought seeds and potatoes and issued them at cost price – also provided artificial manures and arranged for crop spraying. Mer & Mor also had flourishing Cooperative Pig & Livestock Soc


Royal Visit 20 July 1918. Wim and D Coop Pig & Livetsock Soc founded by Alderman Allen agve piglet to Queen Mary – ultimately sold to raise large sums for Red Cross.

A cause for delight...

It was not only the Second World War that brought food shortages;

the same was also true of the Great War. Members of the Royal family toured the country, visiting the wounded and encouraging those supporting the war effort through munitions and food production. In August 1918 King George V and Queen Mary visited the local area, including the Piggery at Wimbledon Park where they were presented with a piglet. The Queen appears to have been thrilled with the gift. This photo is all the more charming, as she is was rarely pictured with a smile. ( The official standing to her left is Alderman Allen, Mayor of Wimbledon. )


( Wimbledon Museum )


Meeting the wounded...July 1918.

During their visit to Merton Church of England Boys’ School,

King George V and Queen Mary were greeted by a guard of honour, including many soldiers wounded whilst on active service.      

The convalescent troops are shown wearing a special pale blue uniform with a red tie – this distinctive clothing was intended to make them more conspicuous and therefore less likely to desert.


( Merton Library Service )


Guard of Honour greeting George V and Queen Mary at St.Mary’s Road, Merton, July 1918.

The Royal couple visited the area specifically to see wartime gardens and allotments. They paid a lengthy visit to the Merton Church of England Boy’s School, where the local headmaster wrote:


Their Majesties the King and Queen, amid the loyal manifestations of the children, and other inhabitants of Merton, visited our School Gardens. The Chairman of the Urban Council, the Chairman of the Agricultural Committee and I were then honoured by being presented to Their Majesties the King and Queen, whom I escorted through the School Gardens. On leaving, the Royal Visitors expressed to me the interest they had experienced.”


( Merton Library Service )