Horfield and District Allotments Association

History of Horfield & District allotments Association

 

Horfield and DAA was a huge association when it was formed and situated mostly in Horfield (originally Horsfield or Horsefield). It spread into Bishopston and Redland. The original rules date from 1917 - the archives are stored in Bristol Record Office.

There are old maps. One of 1916 shows Kings Drive and Bishop Road pencilled in. There are names of fields long gone - Buffalo Bill's field was taken for building and for Bristol Rugby Ground in 1923. Where were Henesseys, Dewfalls and Warner Fields? What was the GWR land and Lockleaze land? Where was Berry Lane and Southmead Field? They all existed when the Association began, probably during the first world war.

The Flower Show used to be run by the Horfield Association on Horfield Common. During his time as Secretary, Mr W.(Bill) Pain asked Bristol City Council to take it over. Since then it has been held on Durdham Downs and has been known as the Bristol Flower Show - though in the last few years this event has not taken place.

In 1922 allotment land was required for building Kellaway Avenue and goats were not allowed on Cotham School playing fields.

In 1926 the Association was given notice to quit Bishop Road Field which lay between Bishop Road and Logan Road and included the present KIngs Drive.

Oakley Hall, in Oak Road, was purchesed in the 1920s by members of the Association. It was used for social and business meetings and as a trading shop. In time more Association money and effort was spent on looking after the building than looking after the land and in 1993 the decision was taken to sell it. £51,000 was banked.

The committee then decided to use some of this money to assist Bristol City Council, always short of money, to put secure fencing and gates, good haulingways and water taps on the fields. A note confirming the verbal assurance of repayment was never recieved and much of that capital is now lost to the Association.

Golden Hill farm house was near the junction of Malmesbury Close and Birchall Road and existed in the 1920s. No 1 Birchall Road was about the site of the pig stye of the farm. There was a huge chestnut tree at the end of the farm lane where the tennis courts are now (under which, it is believed, the locals courted!)

Birchall Field was acquired in 1933 - 1 and half acres of land below Golden Hill Farm had been a public tip covbered in builders' refuse. It was first rented through J P Sturge who managed it on behalf of the Bishop Monk Trust. The rents kept on increasing until Mr Pain(Secretary) put the matter in the hands of Bristol City Council who purchased the land. The Association brought in tons of topsoil to the flat land by horse and cart. In 1986 Bristol City Council closed most of the field to construct a huge retention tank for Wessex Water. This has prevented the Cran Brook flooding nearer the city centre. In 1990 Birchall Field was reinstated on top of the tank.

Horfield and District Allotments Association Ltd. looks after six fields

Baptist- on the lower side of Donkey Lane(once used by a local church for Sunday school children);

Birchall - below Birchall Road;

Davis   - also on the lower side of Donkey Lane(because the funeral directors on Gloucester Road - Davis & Son, kept their black horses on this field - those horses that pulled the funeral carriages);

Grahams - Wessex Avenue was built through farmer Graham's field;

Longs - on the upper side of Donkey Lane was named after farmer Long who kept pigs in this field;

St Agnes - behind Horfield prison and below Baptist Field (again used by a local church for Sunday school children).

 

All of the Association's lettable land is currently let to plotholders. There is a long waiting list of hopeful plotholders and the sites are reviewed regularly by the field representatives.

 

On the Golden Hill Site the Horfield Organic Community Orchard -HOCO - has a well developed orchard of heritage and rare varieties of fruit trees and bushes.