The Barn Elms Allotments

The Barn Elms Allotments are a precious resource at the heart of our community. They are wonderfully tended and the users grow fruit, vegetables, flowers amongst sheds, raised beds and fantastic lawned paths. They are used by young and old, providing a breathing space from urban life.

Barn Elms has long been a place of market gardens, supplying the city of London with it’s fruit and vegetables, using the drained and very fertile former marsh land in the loop of the Thames, beside the ancient Barn Elms Estate. In 1825 the estate was sold to the Hammersmith Bridge Company, who kept 6 acres for approach roads and sold the rest to the Middlesex Water Company for a reservoir.

An allotment is a plot of land made available for individual, non-commercial gardening or growing food plants. The actual beginnings of allotments on this site is lost in the mists of time, but the Barn Elms Allotment Society or BEAS, has a copy of a lease dated 1922. For many years the allotments were shared between Thames Water tenants and BEAS. When the reservoir was no longer needed in the late 1980s (due to a ring main round London) the site needed to find another use.

Along with Barnes Waterside residential development and the London Wetland Centre space was reserved for the re-instatement of allotments. These were handed over to BEAS in 1999 and there are now 116 plots of 5 rods (a Rod, Pole or Perch is thought to been 5 1/2 yards), half the size of the previous plots, but each allotment was given a shed and between every two there is a water tank.

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