History: Building Raynes Park

The Paddock Allotments & Horticultural Society


The land itself was set aside for allotment use in 1926 covering 5.5 acres and allowing some 107 plots to be made available for an annual rent.   

The Paddock Horticultural Society was formed in 1949, initially to purchase and sell stock to the tenants on the Paddock Allotment Site on Cannon Hill Common. 

During the next 28 years, the Society allowed neighbouring residents to join and use the small trading facilities.   In 1987, the committee introduced social gatherings which, as happens at such events, led to discussions of the committee being able to improve the conditions of the site.   Thus, in 1989, the London Borough of Merton asked the Paddock allotments and Horticultural society to consider becoming a self-managed site and by way of encouragement, erected an anti-vandal fence, increased the water supply by an additional 40 tanks and provided the shell of a 15-metre square Marley building.    

Within two years The Paddock members had set up the administration of plot letting, partitioned the building and had the electricity supply installed in 1991. 

Satisfying the London Borough of Merton that they were capable of looking after the site themselves, they were awarded self-management status.   This enabled them to be in control of all the allotment rent income, whilst still answerable to the Council at any time.   Since then the Society has erected a garage, fitted out the clubhouse, the shop, kitchen, office and workshop; improved drainage to the lower end of the site, laid hard standing around the building, created a gazebo area as well as a picnic green, provided extra gates into the site and improved conditions in the car park.   More recently they have installed land drains and improved pathways. 

The committee handles all the tenancy, security and maintenance of the site; the membership, administration, communication and financial control of the Society and all the catering and trading facilities.   The trading hut (shop) is currently open at weekends and carries an excellent range of products at reasonable prices.   Supplies of plants, bulbs and all other seasonal items are available at appropriate times during the year. 

Sunday morning is the focal point of the week, with the trading hut in full swing and the catering volunteers providing full breakfasts in the clubhouse for a nominal charge.   A far cry from sitting on an upturned bucket with tea made over a Gaz cooker discussing how they could improve their lot!   

The Society has come a long way since then and is mindful that the social side has made it what it is today.   A full diary shows that members enjoy their outings and parties just as much as their gardening and specialist horticultural events, and in the past from appearing on GMTV to winning National Horticultural competitions and from visiting the Eden Project in Cornwall to the Benedictine Monastery in France. 

The allotment site itself now has more than 170 plots and is fully tenanted, with a waiting list; but the Paddock Horticultural Society (now a Company Limited by Guarantee) is an open organisation, which residents are invited to join for a modest annual fee.    The benefits are numerous, and rest assured, new members will be made very welcome. 

From Information presented by Ruth Whitehead, General Secretary of the Paddock Allotments and Horticultural Society.


Join us on:


Share this page: