The Society was formed in 1952 and was called the Avery Hill Gardens society – only in 2005 was the word Eltham added in a bid to attract more local residents to join.
The first committee elected was some ten of the first residents of the nearly completed Avery Hill estate who volunteered to start a gardening and / or social club at the request of the local council. Of these residents only two had any real gardening expertise.
The first was Charlie Dwyer who was a professional gardener and became the first chairman . The second was Syd Smith who was a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic amateur who specialised in growing chrysanths and dahlias and used to show at national level. He became the first show secretary.
Other positions such as secretary , treasurer ,and trading secretary etc. were filled by other members of the committee volunteering on a `I'll have a go ' basis. All committee meetings were convened in one or other of the committee member's homes and that applies right up to the present day.
Membership was recruited simply by the same committee members canvassing door to door , at first limited to the estate but subsequently spreading to Eltham Heights as the Society became more well known.
The first trading was carried out on the back porch of the first trading secretary's house in Restons Crescent . In time a large wooden hut was purchased and erected on a vacant plot in Anstridge Road and was thus the Society's first `shop'. This was eventually replaced by two concrete garages and in time moved to the current premises at Pippenhall, all in liaison with the local council.
The first shows were staged in the following year , one in July and one in September and for many years were held in Alderwood School. Over the years the venues for the shows have changed – Methodist Church Hall ,Avery Hill College , and most recently at St. Mary's R.C. Primary School in Glenure Road.
Over the years the committees have organised different events to stimulate interest and initially it seemed to work. Outings , talks , film shows etc. The shows also were changed to cater for different requests , now of course there is only one annual show and that is fairly static. At it's peak the Society boasted some 580 members but sadly in recent years it's membership has declined to around 120 and subsequently the events had to be cancelled leaving just the one coach outing in the summer.
The reasons for this decline are many and various and not within the scope of this article to explore. It is certain that readers will have their own ideas on that.
If you find the above of interest and you feel that you would like to learn more about your local group feel free to drop in at the shop at Pippenhall on any Sunday morning to find out more. You may also feel that you have something to offer – advice , suggestions , help?
The allotment shop at Pippenhall is now open every Sunday morning from 10am until midday.
Pre -ordered seed potatoes are now available for collection.
Our 65th Annual show was a great success in September. Please click here for more details on the show and a selection of pictures of the event.
Please could all tenants make sure the gate is always shut fully after entering or exiting the site and not to let anyone on site who does not have a key for the gate. There have been a number of instances of theft and sheds being broken into in recent weeks and we would ask tenants to report any suspicious activity to both the police and Greenwich council parks and open spaces department.
Please note that Violet Farm multipurpose compost is no longer available due to the change in peat regulations. We now stock the Rosedale premium professional brand multipurpose compost at £5.25 for a 60 litre bag
Click here for more details
The Pippenhall allotment shop is now open every Sunday morning until further notice between 10.00am and midday
Available to download here soon
One of our members has experimented with growing potatoes in bags over the last two years. Read about his experience and advice to other container growers here
The 65th annual show will place on the 9th September 2017, further details to follow. The show report for 2016 and a list of trophy winners can be found here. Photos of the 2016 event can be found here
One of the tenants at Pippenhall has recently started a Pippenhall allotment blog. Have a look for yourself and register if you would like to contribute to this community. Click here to visit the blog
We regret that the strimmer is no longer available for hire.
Eltham and Avery Hill Gardens Society
London SE9 2PE
(please do not use this address for correspondence)