Gardeners celebrate 75th birthday of club set up during World War Two

PUBLISHED: 09:00 26 August 2017

Whitesfield Road allotments, cream tea to celebrate 75th anniversary. Comittee members and guests.

Whitesfield Road allotments, cream tea to celebrate 75th anniversary. Comittee members and guests.

Archant

A gardening club which was set up to encourage people to grown their own vegetables during the war is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Whitesfield Road allotments, cream tea to celebrate 75th anniversary. Members raise a glass in celebration.Whitesfield Road allotments, cream tea to celebrate 75th anniversary. Members raise a glass in celebration.

The Nailsea and District Gardeners’ Association was set up during World War Two as part of the Dig For Victory campaign.

The group, which is based at Whitesfield Road allotments, is still going strong and members held an afternoon tea to celebrate its landmark anniversary.

Bev Ballagher, secretary of the Nailsea and District Gardeners Association, said: “The first meeting, held on February 4, 1942, was attended by 20 people and chaired by the parish council chairman Mr R Gray Esq.

“The meeting was addressed by the minister of agriculture and the minister of information.

“Following their speeches, The Nailsea and District Home Food Production Club was created covering Nailsea, Wraxall and Tickenham.

“During the first year there were 245 members, membership was 6p and many tonnes of lime, fertiliser and compost were ordered through the association.

“Members placed their orders with the association and they in turn were able to place large orders with companies enabling a good price to be obtained. “The president for many years was Lady Wraxall.”

The group’s aim was to provide reasonabily-priced fertilisers, compost and gardening kit to help people grown their own fruit and vegetables.

It was subsidised by the Government and run by volunteers as a no-profit group – this ethos continues today.

After the war, the association continued to run and sold items including potatoes, tomato plants, fertilisers, bone meal, super phosphates and garotta.

A committee was formed to oversee the group and talks and trips were organised for members.

In 1970, the association had 220 members but this dropped dramatically later that decade and there were fears it would close.

Mrs Ballagher said: “During the mid-1970s membership dwindled and there was consideration given to closing it down, however it was re-shaped and migrated into The Nailsea and District Gardeners Association where it recovered and continued to supply fertilizers, composts and garden products to members.”

There are currently 12 people on the committee with four shed volunteers and 90 members,

The shed is open from February each year and as the growing season progresses it opens twice a month on Saturday mornings from 10am until noon.

Anyone interested in joining can email nailsea.gardeners@gmail.com

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