Manor Gardens 1

“It occupies a place in people’s imaginations way beyond the plot-holders”; Julie Sumner.

Major Arthur Villiers, a director of Barings Bank and enlightened philanthropist, founded his ‘Private Gardening Club’ in the early 1900s to provide allotments for interested locals to grow wholesome food. The members felt secure in the autonomy of their well chosen site because it was managed by its own elected committee. This magical and rather ramshackle place had developed a strongly settled, polyglot and welcoming community by the time it came under threat from the Olympics.

Adile (centre) and two friends show the bounty of their final grape crop.

Adile (centre) and two friends show the bounty of their final grape crop.

Julie Sumner's garden three months before eviction. 2007

Julie Sumner’s garden three months before eviction. 2007

Ali making salad for lunch in Hassan's shed. Aug 2007

Ali making salad for lunch in Hassan’s shed. Aug 2007

Adile and Hassan harvesting the last figs and grapes from Julie Sumner's garden Aug 2007

Adile and Hassan harvesting the last figs and grapes from Julie Sumner’s garden Aug 2007

Tommy Norris, aged 83, tells a marrow seedling, grown from a 40 year old packet of seeds, to keep going.

Tommy Norris, aged 83, tells a marrow seedling, grown from a 40 year old packet of seeds, to keep going.

Les & Margaret on their way home staring at a nearby plot which has recently been bulldozed to accomodate a soil test bore hole.  Aug 2007

Les & Margaret on their way home staring at a nearby plot which has recently been bulldozed to accomodate a soil test bore hole. Aug 2007