At the end of October, Shinfield Parish Council and The University of Reading officially opened the new allotments in Deardon Way. The Group was invited to attend which we did and it prompted this article. Five years earlier the Public Open Space in Deardon Way opposite the allotments was opened as a green space for local use and an orchard established at one end. It was reported that there were to be no children’s playground there, just a green open space.
The parish has many other allotments and in 2004/5 it was reported that they had seven separate allotment areas and presumably Deardon Way is the eighth. We have within our memories file some memories of other allotments from people like David McMurray whose uncle Donald Baggs kept an allotment in Grovelands Road until he died in 1990 and that David has a copy of the original rental agreement dated 1926 of 20 poles leased. It was originally leased to David’s grandfather who was a gardening fanatic. These allotments are really in Clares Green Road which David’s mother said that older people in the village used to call Farrier’s Lane. Another orchard used to run from ‘Farrier’s Lane’ to Hyde End Road owned by the Salmon family where Apple Tree estate is.
Beryl Jelliman said that her father had two large pieces of allotment in Clares Green Road during World War II and the children had to help him on Saturday mornings. She thought that they were more of a hindrance than a help.
Mr Archer who lived in Grovelands Road said that the address of Recreation Road used to be Spencers Wood Common and the proof of this was in the deeds of the white house at the end of Recreation Road leading into the allotments, had such an address. This house used to be 3 cottages.
Hunter of Beech Hill House owned the allotments of Recreation Road and were disbursed in the Spencers Wood Common Enclosure Act in the mid -1800s. Hunter also owned the private allotments in Beech Hill Road that Diana Close was built on. The allotments continued beyond the close into the field and there was a well there. The occupants of Oak Tree Cottage which was two cottages then would not use the well as they preferred the one on the common which the cottage bordered. The allotments would have been used by the workers of the brick kiln in the woods and they would have used the footpath alongside the allotments to get to Beech Hill Road.
If anyone has any more information or anecdotes about the allotments, we would be pleased to hear from them.