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Fascinating archive of The Plotholder now online

Date posted: Saturday 22nd August 2020

Fascinating archive of  The Plotholder now online

The newsletter of the Royal Paddocks Allotments was published continuously from 1998 to 2015 and a complete set of archive issues is now available here on this website.

The Plotholder made its first appearance in June 1998 as three sides of plain type with no illustrations. It came about following a suggestion made at the Extraordinary General Meeting of the plotholders in March 1998. You’ll have to wait for the forthcoming Centenary book to find out about the crisis that led to the EGM!

The chairman at the time of the Plotholders’ Committee was Les Dickinson and he wrote the first newsletter. He noted:
I realise that this first newsletter may seem a bit impersonal, but we hope this will change as the more worrying aspects of the future of the allotments recede, and are replaced by items of a personal and gardening nature.
That ambition was quickly realised and Issue 3 (March 1999) included contributions on the best time to sow runner beans, companion planting, a poem and a recipe.

In the pages of The Plotholder you’ll meet the great characters of the Royal Paddocks such as George Harmsworth who had a plot for over 50 years and was an absolute mainstay of the allotments – looking after the pumps and the incinerator, rebuilding (twice!) the Seed Store and then running it as an outlet for seeds, fertiliser and the like as well as tea and free range eggs on Sundays.

Over the years, The Plotholder grew and evolved as new technology brought colour, pictures and professional layout within the grasp of the volunteers who wrote, collated and produced it. The development of the Allotments’ social activities is well chronicled, and from 2010 to 2013 readers eagerly awaited each instalment of our very own romantic serial “Tarragon of Virtue”. Articles on gardening science, wildlife, plant diseases, hedge-laying and compost toilets all make an appearance.

We hope that the publication of this archive will whet the appetites of present plotholders for the forthcoming celebrations of the Centenary of the Royal Paddocks Allotments and the commemorative book being prepared by Janet Baylis and Susan Saunders. Thanks go to Katie Downham for scanning all the old Plotholder copies.

Click here to visit the archive.

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