Following food shortages after World War One, the City of Edinburgh Council responds to the state of national emergency regarding food shortages.
On the 2nd December 1916 the Town Clerk submitted a letter from the Secretary of the Board of Agriculture for Scotland. The Board invited the cooperation of corporations in arranging for vacant land and other land within the city being brought under cultivation.
On the 26th February 1918 the committee considered a motion regarding the giving up of 5 acres of ground for allotments in Inverleith Park. A fence would be moved from around the entire park to protect the new allotments from sheep.
It was agreed that rent of the allotments should be 10/- shillings each.
Scotsman 20th March 1918 reported that 123 allotments had been let at Inverleith Park and that there were 53 applicants on a waiting list for more allotments in that neighbourhood. The Committee had decided that morning to grant another section of Inverleith Park for cultivation in 123 allotments.
This synopsis of notes has been taken from past Annual General Meetings and provides a brief history of the allotments together with some of the major issues of the day.
28 April 1942
Committee formed including Kinnear Road allotments.
First mention of the need to widen gate access for lorries.
Agreement to join the Federation of Edinburgh and District Allotments and Garden Associations (FEDAGA). Kinnear Road allotments taken back by Fettes Trust. Reallocation of Inverleith plots to dispossessed. Fencing was reported as inadequate (3 feet high).
Manure obtained from Gorgie slaughterhouses. New fencing installed on the North and West sides (metal post and wire mesh) – Corporation to be asked to erect similar fencing on the East and South sides.
Allotment hut erected. AGM was moved here from the pavilion in Inverleith park. Locks and keys purchased by the Association and members required to pay a deposit.
Water flow problem reported to Corporation. Gates often found unlocked. Notices to be erected reminding members to lock gates.
Refuse dump for hard waste constructed with corrugated iron beside the site hut. Complaints about untended plots and potatoes being washed in water butts. Noted that in 1942 when the Association was first formed, membership cards outlining various regulations had been printed which were now out of date. Agreement to revise and reprint these.
Corporation to be approached regarding the need for toilet facilities within the allotments (the ladies WC in the pavilion being closed for most of the year). Proposed that this should be placed at “the rear of the yacht club building”.
WC unlikely due to expense. Instead, a new gate was proposed near to yacht club house to allow members to use facilities at bowling green clubhouse. New regulations had been drafted and passed unanimously. Each allotment holder to be issued with a copy. Cost of printing £3.10.0d.
Dogs to be kept on a leash in the allotments.
Plotholders next to the fence to be asked to keep huts and compost heaps away to prevent damage to fence and unauthorised entry. Gate had now been installed near to yacht house, but problems using WC at bowling green clubhouse, which is closed on Sundays, the most popular day. Issue to be raised with the Corporation. Water supply raised again. Notice boards suggested. Secretary awarded honorarium of £5.
One notice board acquired, another (second hand) to be purchased. Further discussion of WCs and water supply. Agreed to focus on latter. Also agreed to increase member’s subscriptions from 3d to 6d per year.
Corporation agreed to install new water pipe at cost of £300. Decision awaited over future of allotments as the Corporation was minded to close allotment sites in parks.
Water pipe still not installed. Following representations, the Corporation agreed not to close allotments, but the decision would be reviewed in 5 years. All members to keep their plots in a clean and tidy state. A single strip of plots to the south of the site to be removed, and the plotholders relocated, due to reduced demand for plots.
Water pipe installed. Plots to be re-numbered and plan to be placed on notice boards.
Complaint of refuse dump on one plot. Fencing near to the main gates to be repaired and new posts installed.
Fencing repair outstanding. New arrangements in hand to let plots faster to prevent them lying empty. Arrangements in hand to destroy rabbits. Two lawn mowers presented for use of members.
New fencing on the North and West not erected though promises from the Corporation had been made. Association fee to be raised from 5p to 10p. Rabbits to be trapped. Proposal to insure allotment hut agreed, as a number of park buildings had recently been set on fire.