What Makes Britain Great, Part II

Allotments. Most assuredly this is not something we have here in the US, but I think we come fairly close with the size of our front and backyards in most urban places. According to the story by The Independent, this is what an allotment is:

Like a kind of poor man’s golf club, the allotment has traditionally been seen as a place for a man to be out in the open air, away from his wife and among specialist equipment. The knitwear tends to be more downbeat, but there is the added advantage of a shed in which to store pornographic magazines, pipe tobacco and a bottle of something warming. Of course, allotments are also places that can be used to grow vegetables and they are becoming popular once again with city dwellers as the trend for organic and local food grows.

Allotments have been around since the 18th century, but they really came into their own with the advent of the Second World War and the Dig For Victory campaign, which encouraged Britons to grow their own food. Allotments are generally owned by local councils or by allotment associations, with the annual rent being fairly cheap. In big cities there are waiting lists for allotments, which also enjoyed a 1970s boom in popularity when TV’s The Good Life showed us that self-sufficiency might lead to the ability to make our own cut-price wine or the possibility of sleeping with Felicity Kendall.


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