Patterns of allotment holding in the Black Country, 1914-2000
Based on the existing literature and supported by images present in popular culture four stereotypes relating to allotments and allotment holders can be discerned: the characteristics of allotment holders; their motivations for taking on a plot; the appearance, atmosphere and culture of allotments sites; and the importance attached to allotment activities. This thesis uses documentary and oral evidence to explore each of these stereotypes in relation to the allotment community in the Black Country between 1914 and 2000 in order to determine the extent to which they have held true throughout this period. The research concludes that, although some aspects of the traditional stereotypes, especially in relation to the characteristics of allotment holders, could be argued to be broadly accurate, many aspects of the existing stereotypes need to be revised. Stereotypes relating to the motivation for allotment holding and importance of allotment activities in particular are far too crude to be a helpful means of investigating these features. By questioning existing views of allotments and allotment holders, this thesis raises issues for the study of twentieth-century middle class and working class cultures in the Black Country and beyond.