Monthly Archives: August 2012

Balmore

BALMORE

Balmore Gate

A new sign appears on the gate that gives access from the car park of Balmore Park Surgery: “PLEASE DO NOT PARK WITHIN 4 FEET OF THESE GATES. WE ALLOTMENT GARDENERS NEED SPACE FOR WHEEL BARROW ACCESS. Thank You.”

Gently Sloping Balmore Allotments

The site slopes gently. Perhaps because there is no vehicular access, it seems a very private site.  The allotments run between the green open space of Balmore Walk and Oxford Street and Prospect Street. One boundary of the site backs on to a terrace of houses, on another, the brick wall of the Prince of Wales pub is put to good use.

Brickwork

Allotments appear on maps of 1932 on both sides of Balmore Hall. Agreement to use one of sites as allotments was made with the owner Mr Israel in 1920. Minutes refer to “land adjoining Balmore Hall, abutting Hemdean Road” totalling 132 poles (1). By 1936 only today’s site remained, as houses had been built on the other side of the hall. Balmore Hall was demolished in 1984 to make way for the surgery.

Caversham has seven of Reading’s 20 council managed allotment sites (2); 153 out of 869 full plot equivalents, representing 17.6% (3). In 1911 Caversham became part of Reading, the centenary being celebrated in “Caversham 100 Years On” (4). The Land Agent, Mr Gould took over control of allotments transferred under the Reading (Extension) Order 1911. These totalled 2 roods 36 poles (around 12 full plot equivalent) in Caversham and 1 acre, 2 roods and 20½ poles (around 26 full plot equivalent) in Emmer Green. The committee was told that 97 people wanted allotments, estimated as a requirement for 15 acres and 9 poles (5). The committee set about meeting that need in what was at this time a growing residential area.

The boundary with Balmore Walk

By 1923 the position reported in committee minutes was a considerable increase in availability of allotments under council management in Caversham (6). The total is possibly inflated by additional land taken over for allotment use during the First World War 1914-1918.

Situation Area    
  acres roods poles No. of plots No. of allotment holders
Emmer Green

1

2

10

18

17

Dean’s Farm, Lower Caversham

27

1

10

321

270

Angle Field, Henley Road

12

3

0

196

167

Balmore Estate, Hemdean Road

2

3

0

35

44

East of footpath from Bridge Street to Church Street, Caversham

2

2

18

49

10

West of same footpath

0

1

26

9

8

Kidmore Road

0

0

32

3

8

St Anne’s Road

0

0

35

1

6

Ditto

0

0

10

1

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAVERSHAM TOTAL

55

15

21

633

538

OVERALL READING TOTAL

253

0

19

3376

2834

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1. Table of Allotments in the Northern Area of Reading

(From a table dated 15 January 1923, within Smallholdings and Allotments Committee minutes.)

It is probable that Balmore allotments are within the area described as “Balmore Estate, Hemdean Road”. It is also probable that Emmer Green includes the allotments described in the previous chapter (7).

FACT PANEL

No. of plots: (8) 31
Full plot equivalent: (8) 17.5
Date allotments established: est. 1920s
Date taken on by Council: est. 1920s
Previous use: open land/ farm
Status: (9) Temporary

References

(1)    Smallholdings and Allotments committee minutes 12 January 1920. R/AC1/3/24. (BRO)

(2)    They are: Ardler Road, Balmore, Caversham Court, Emmer Green, Henley Road, Oakley Road and Victoria Road.

(3)    Based on full plot equivalents in November 2008 Report to the Green City and Open Spaces Forum, 19 November 2008. Allotment Provision and Plan Update. Director of Environment Culture and Sport.

(4)    Caversham 100 Years On. http://www.caversham100yearson.org.uk

(5)    Minutes of the Smallholdings and Allotments Committee 14 December 1911. R/AC1/3/8. (BRO)

(6)    Small holdings and Allotments Committee 15 January 1923. R/AC1/3/30. (BRO)

(7)    The meeting of 8 July 1915 noted that the Borough Accountant would supply the Charity Commissioners with a copy of the accounts for the Poor’s Allotments at Emmer Green. Smallholdings and Allotments Committee minutes 8 July 1915. R/AC1/3/14. (BRO)

(8)    November 2008 Report to the Green City and Open Spaces Forum, 19 November 2008. Allotment Provision and Plan Update. Director of Environment Culture and Sport.

(9)    Reading Borough Council 2005 Allotment Plan.

© Evelyn Williams 2012

PDF here: 18 Balmore

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