FOLLOWING Gail Middleton's item on allotments in The Bugle (May 15 edition) can I acquaint you with my own Allotment Society.
Graiseley & District Cooperative Allotment Society Ltd can trace its formation to 1917. It was in the autumn of that year a gardening club at the West End Working Men's Club in Wolverhampton began the process of purchasing our land in Jeffcock Road, Wolverhampton. Birches Barn Estates sold the middle of a triangle of land surrounded by Jeffcock Road, Birches Barn Road and what is now Barn Green to the Society. The land bordering the roads was sold as separate plots for housing. The sale was completed via a mortgage and a bank loan and the formation of a limited company in early 1918. Our formal minutes begin in February of that year.
We have a complete set of minutes from that first meeting of the Company on Friday, February 22, 1918, to the present day.
The driving force behind the purchase was Councillor (later Alderman) William Moseley. I have no doubt it was he who insisted that the limited company be formed to put the Society on a proper footing and, until his death in 1944, gave advice and took a particular interest in the Society. He and a Mr S J Tonks of Copeland House, Stubbs Road (the house is still there), I believe, acted as guarantors for the mortgage and bank loan.
In August 1918 Mr Laurie presented a silver cup to the Society competed for yearly and held by the member with the best cultivated allotment. In subsequent years a Rose Bowl and Fruit Bowl followed.
The Lauries owned a glass beveling company in Walsall Street, Wolverhampton. We can only assume that one our members worked there and the donations were an act of philanthropy. These trophies and others donated over the years are still presented today.
The mortgage was paid off in the late 1920s, the original purchase price being £1,417 and a bank overdraft of £425 cleared. The local press reported: "The Society had kept open the land as a lung for that side of the town."
The Society has 100 members who each hold 18 £1 shares in the company.
This gives them the right to cultivate one of the plots. Allotment Societies such as ours who own their own land are now few and far between.
We continue to thrive and look forward to celebrating our centenary in 1917.
(A past secretary of the Society),
28, Cardiff Street, Penn Fields,
Wolverhampton, WV3 0EZ.