Cottenham Park Allotments
Cambridge Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20
The ten and a half acre site contains about 250 allotment plots. The plots are a mixture of 10 and 5 rods in area ( a rod is 30.25 square yards ie 25.78 square metres ). Allotment sites are probably unique in still using the Saxon measure of area ! There is a good supply of water with water tanks and hose points at regular intervals along both roadways. There is vehicle and pedestrian access to the site from Cambridge Road and pedestrian access from Cottenham Park Lane. Keys for the pedestrian gates may be obtained from the Shop for a £3.00 deposit. When the Allotment Shop is open, the gates are unlocked to allow access for vehicles and Garden Members.
Plots are let, and annual rent collected, by Merton Council. If you wish to rent a plot, you should contact the Letting Officer at Merton Council. Any queries about letting or complaints about neglected plots should be made to the Council.
Prior to 1991 the Association ran a small shop from three rather dilapidated garages at the far end of the side roadway. In that year, the Council built a social centre in the middle of the site for the use of the Association. We moved into the Centre in November 1991. The centre consists of a Shop, a social area with a small kitchen, and toilets. The toilets are maintained by the Association but are available to all plot holders. Keys may be obtained from the Shop for a £3.00 deposit. A small First Aid kit is kept in the entrance to the toilets. Throughout the negotiations with the Council over the centre, the Chairman of the Association was John Gray. Following his death in 1993, the centre was named after him.
The Association organises occasional deliveries of manure. These are unloaded into a bay near the storage units by the Centre. The manure is available for all plot holders.
All plot holders are encouraged to compost all compostable material on their plot. This both provides a regular source of compost for your plot and helps to reduce the cost to the Council of landfill and so our Council tax. Perennial weeds such as bind weed should be put in a bag and allowed to decompose before being added to your compost heap. Any non-compostable material from your plot should be put in the bay adjacent to the manure bay for collection by the Council.
The following is a brief summary of legal documents, relating to the site, of which we have photocopies.
(1) 20 December 1852
(a) A sale of land for £ 1,960 to Patrick Campbell from Frederick Finch - 5 " pieces of land " between new roads " called or intended to be called" Cottenham Park Road and Cambridge Road.
(b) A Deed of Covenant on this land restricting the erection of buildings and the carrying on of certain trades or businesses.
(2) 15 August 1888
An Agreement ( the Richardson Agreement ) between Mrs Turner ( Patrick Campbell's niece - the current owner ) and Ben Richardson of Rose Cottage, Richmond Road, a market gardener.
Ben Richardson followed his father, Richard, as the tenant farmer of the " 9 1/2 acres or thereabouts situate in Cottenham Park Road and Cambridge Road " for an annual rent of £ 30.00.
(3) 29 June 1893
Mrs Turner gives her consent to Ben Richardson to " underlet " the land as allotments to the Local Board ( ie Wimbledon ) " in the event of the Local Board taking over the Richardson Agreement " ( paying her the rent ) [ This they agreed to do on 14 December 1893 ]
(4) 31 October 1898
Mrs Constance Melville of Durrington House, Cottenham Park Road either inherits or buys the land ( the Conveyance document is incomplete .)
(5) 10 May 1907
An indenture between Mrs Melville and the " Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of Wimbledon " in which Mrs Melville leases to the Corporation the 10 ½ acre site formerly forming part of the Cottenham Park Estate which " for some time past has been held by the Corporation or their predecessors for the purposes of allotment gardens ".
The Corporation agreed to the 1852 covenant and to Mrs Melville's new covenant that the land was not to be used for any other purposes than as allotment gardens for working men and that the allotments were to be let at as low a rent as possible to bona fide working men.
(6) 18 September 1919
Mrs Melville of South View, Grosvenor Hill, died. In her will, she left the land to Wimbledon Corporation .
(7) 3 October 1922
A conveyance : the land is given to Wimbledon Corporation by the Public Trustee subject to the restrictive covenants.
©2008 N Herbert