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Reading Allotments – Book News


Cover of Reading Allotments

Cover of Reading Allotments

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Reading Allotments the book is now complete.

It is currently awaiting publication on the iBookstore. When it is available, you will be able to download it as a free book.

It includes chapters that have not yet been included on this blog and some additional photographs and material.

I will keep you updated on the publication.



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A Note on Allotment Measurements

In these chapters, the “full plot equivalent” of 10 poles has been adopted as a comparative unit of area measurement. Until recently this was the standard allotment size. Currently most newly let allotments, such as my own, are five pole half plots (1).

Allotments and Smallholding committee minutes often refer to areas of allotment sites in acres, roods and poles. To convert these to the “full plot equivalent” and for the purposes of totalling allotment areas, I have used the following conversion factors (2).

An acre = 160 poles (or perches) = 16 full plot equivalents.

An acre = 4 roods.

A rood = 40 poles = 4 full plot equivalents.

Sunset over my allotment.

When I first visited my new allotment, five poles didn’t look very big. A blank earth canvas stretched out before me. Once the weeds started growing the area expanded and I wondered if it is ever going to be manageable. I have now got used to these seasonal fluctuations in the size of my allotment, which will be familiar to other allotment holders.



(1)    In metric measurement 10 poles is 250 sq m, five poles is 125 sq m.

(2)    Information on conversion and area units of measurement are widely available on the internet.

PDF here: 19 A Note on Allotment Measurements

© Evelyn Williams 2012

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How this project came about

The idea for this project came as the result of an e-mail exchange.

I wasn’t working and there were no immediate prospects on the horizon. At the end of an e-mail I wrote that the good news was that I was at the top of the waiting list for an allotment at Waterloo Meadows.

This provoked a response about how great it would be to produce a photographic record of all the allotments of England. This would have been an impossible and daunting project but a record of all the allotments of Reading was feasible.

And so I began to photograph Reading’s allotments and investigate their history with a view to producing a book that might be of interest to allotment owners and local historians.

My aim was to provide beautiful images – allotments are very photogenic – and uncover the origins of the allotment sites. My researches led me much further to begin to develop a local perspective on some important events in the social history of England. The book is a work-in-progress, I still don’t know everything I would like to know about Reading’s Allotments and so as my research continues I will share new discoveries through this blog.

PDF version here:

1 How this project came about

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Welcome to my blog about the allotments of Reading.

Reading in Berkshire is my home town and suffers on the web, forever being confused with “reading”. Speed’s map of 1610, names it as Redding and if that had remained the spelling, then internet searches for the town would have been less error prone.

COMING SOON – the history of Reading Allotments

Post by post, I will share my researches and some wonderful images of the allotments as they are today.

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