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A SENSE OF PLACE
Manor Garden Allotments,
Hackney Wick, 2006 – 2007
Between summer 2006 - spring 2007, ON SITE ARTS offered cameras and film to allotment holders and their families so that they could photographically document life on their plots over the cycle of four seasons. The photography project took place against the backdrop of the threatened demolition of the allotments, summer 2007, due to Olympic development.
Manor Gardens Allotments have occupied a unique spot in the Lea Valley for almost a century. They sit high above the River Lea on a slim plateau of land, looking over to the city, and across the Hackney Marshes. The allotments are a statutory site approximately 1.8 hectares in size, accommodating around 80 plots. The allotment holders themselves are a diverse community in terms of age, culture and ethnicity. Some have had plots on this site for over 50 years.
The bank around the allotments was planted before the Second World War by a Major Arthur Villiers, a local philanthropist and founder of Eton Manor Boy's Club, who then bequeathed the land for locals to use as allotments. Some of the potting sheds were previously war bunkers, giving the allotments a visible layer of history. After Villiers’ death in 1969 the land was taken over by trustees and then sold to the Lea Valley Authority in 1975.