Back in 2002 I was a part-time tutor for the Worker’s Education Association and, after one series of talks, one of my audience kindly allowed me to copy some essays written by her mother in 1917. I felt they were worth publication and was given a freedom to proceed providing creditation was given to her mother who would be 100 on 4th August 2002. I was very happy to agree with that. Unfortunately things didn’t go quite as planned from my end and the world never had a chance to read some of the writings of Nelly Gladys Lant age 15. Fortunately I kept those photocopies the family kindly gave me. A lot has happened since then – but Nelly’s essay on Allotments written on 21st May 1917 remains:
One of the most patriotic a man can do in the present crisis is to work on an allotment. It is wonderful to see the amount of land now being cultivated, which in prewar days was used for pleasure or wasted.
The allotment holder has one great advantage over other men, this great advantage is health. Health is a precious jewel nowadays, a man who has health is far more able to be of use to the country, if he has such a belonging, than a man who has not.
At the bottom of my garden there is an allotment, and every evening I watch the men, and even their wives busy working, resembling bees in their activity. The man who before the war used to get up just in time to hurry to his work, now gets up about five o’clock in the morning.
I think that allotments are one of the greatest boons of the war.