1979 - Inaugural Meeting of Spratton Garden Club
In 1979, John Tarrant and John Matthews, both keen allotment gardeners, realised that they would be able to buy seeds and other garden supplies at a better rate if they formed a garden club. Dick Manning, Frank Copson, Dick Wykes, Edgar Eldred and Bert Buckby were keen to come in as founder members, and Bill Wood was invited to join as treasurer to keep the books in order. Thus was born the 'Spratton and Teeton Conservative Club Allotment and Garden Section'. Its original objectives, to act as a co-operative for the allotment holders, was funded by a very successful weekly football card lottery, which soon had significant funds in the bank for the club. The co-operative acquired a hut for the allotments in 1981, with garden supplies available to members; purchased seeds and seed potatoes for sale to members, and organised the piping of water to the allotments, completed in 1985 after much discussion with Spratton Town and Charity Land owners of the allotment land.
A natural outlet for keen growers of vegetables and flowers was the establishment of an annual produce show, first held in 1980, and subsequently as a joint show with the Women's Institute.
The idea of an annual outing to a large garden was first mooted in 1982, but this idea did not become viable until a few years later when the membership was large enough to support it. An annual plant bring-and-buy coffee evening was established in 1989.
Dr John Clark was chairman from 1981 - 1993, Bill Wood the treasurer from 1979 - 1993, but the position of secretary had many changes before Len Hayter took it over from 1993 - 2002.
In the mid 1990s, there were the seeds (!) of change. The use of the allotments had reduced considerably, and the hut was sold off. Interest in the produce show was in decline, and after having to be cancelled twice - in 1995 due to exceptionally dry weather, and in 1997 as it clashed with the death of Diana, Princess of Wales - it never re-emerged.
Seed ordering, however, has remained an exceedingly popular facility for members with £800 or so of seeds being obtained annually by Len Hayter at a very competitive rate. Clearly, though, with the decline of allotment activity and the demise of the Show, the club had to find a new direction. It has built on the annual outing, with two or three outings a year, retained the popular coffee evening, and introduced three or four evening speaker talks a year. With a membership of around 100 people, the club has moved from its allotment roots to a successful club for garden lovers. Jean Troop chairs the Club, Tony Woods is the treasurer, and Michael Heaton the secretary.
For details of allotment land, see 1223
For details of allotment land, see also 2109
Image Reference: 0198
Related Searches: Garden Club | 1970