An Allotment

An Allotment is a collaborative project by Hannah Blackmore & Jimmy Irwin

On March 31, plotholders across the UK were allowed to return to their allotments. The land arranged in neat grids, provided plotholders the ideal, socially distanced, conditions to escape from the stress of the pandemic.

The three allotments featured in our new series An Allotment, are located at the intersection of Peckham, Sydenham and Dulwich. They comprise over 300 individual plots on Sydenham Hill, overlooking London.

The allotments have provided relief and escape to the plot holders whatever their circumstances. Allowing them to spend time outside, grow their own food and have something other than the lockdown to focus on. Unsurprisingly, the plots are subject to extraordinary demand, the waiting list can be as long as seven years – those who received a plot during the months of lockdown counted themselves especially lucky. 

Plots left unattended serve as reminders of those who have not been able to return. During an unusually hot summer, plants have grown at great speed. Without someone to tend to the plot regularly, nature takes over. When this happens the community tries to step in and help with the upkeep until members are able to return. 

With air travel almost halted and far fewer vehicles on the road, the skies above London had never seemed clearer. For those lucky enough to have access, spending the long summer months or a few borrowed hours on their plots, have been provided a welcome haven. 

We moved to South London’s Forest Hill just before the lockdown began, taking the opportunity to explore and further understand our neighbourhood, as many have during this time. We found a spirited local community just past the woods, attending with great care and attention to their plots. Spending the entire year cultivating their growing soil, arriving before sunrise to water their crops, and finding innovative ways to fend off London’s hungry wildlife. Our new project, An Allotment, reflects one aspect of life during lockdown: finding moments for optimism, calm and stability.

An Allotment
A collaborative project by
Jimmy Irwin (@j_h_irwin)
Hannah Blackmore (@_hannahblackmore)

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