About Mill Green Allotment

This is a Google map image saved in 2024, but the containers at the end of Parchment Close means that the images are actually from 2021 - 2022 as the Parchment Close development is completed, but the site huts are still in place. 

I have outlined in Red the area that was to become Mill Green Allotment so you might better identify it on the earlier historic Ordinance Survey Maps.  

The earliest map I could find above is dated 1896 and one can see the Watercress beds clearly shown on the map along with a Peppermint and Lavender Distillery. The footprint of what was later to become Mill Green allotment is surrounded by drainage / river channels that connect to the watercress beds and to and from the river Wandle that also had Flour and Drug and Dye Mills on it.

The next map is from 1913 and there appears to have been some housing development along Wood Street but very little has changed since the 1896 OS Map. This map shows the state of play just before World War I or the First World War (28th July 1914 - 11 November 1918) 

The map above is from 1935 and is thus four years before the start of World War II or the Second World War which started for the United Kingdom on the 1st September 1939 and lasted six years and one day with the Japanese surrender on 2nd September 1945. 

The OS Map above is dated 1941 - 1952 and the area is still shown as a Peppermint and Lavender Distillery however it is known that 
Jakson & Co grew peppermint and lavender in big farms near Mitcham.

Their essential oils were extracted in a distillery situated in Philpot Lane, Mitcham Road & near West Croydon. The company was started by a Frenchman called Philip Lelasseur.  Monsieur Lelasseur wanted the company to have a very English name. Unfortunately he spelt it wrongly, but it didn’t stop the company having worldwide success.

Jakson’s & Co essential oil business continued to flourish until the outbreak of the Second World War when the export of oil to all European countries was stopped. How long it continued to operate could not be found.

Some time between the 1941 - 1952 map and 1957 map shown above the area within the water course became Allotment Gardens, and the Engineering Works appears to have been constructed. If this happened during or after the Second World War is unclear.  

I've not been able to find OS Maps after 1957 on the historical maps sites, which is a real shame. So the next jump in time is via Google Earth Pro to 2003 

Google Earth Pro Image dated 2003 and as can be seen there are very few plots that appear to be being worked. The industrial workshop units to the left of the allotment have replaced the Peppermint & Lavender Distillery  shown in the 1957 OS map.  

This is the CAD drawing of Mill Green Allotment dated 1993 revised 1995 that was created in a CAD Package called Cadvance using DXF Ordinance Survey data and was supplied to me when I applied for Plot 1A in October 2012. 

It shows that the Works were still operating in 1993 however by the time I took over my plot they had been demolished and industrial units had been erected on the site, with the wall of the works forming the boundary of the north of the site and to my plot which was the smallest on the site at the time Plot 1A. 

I had previously worked for the London Borough of Sutton for 18 years and knew the allotment officer, who I contacted about deliveries of manure and woodchip and it was she who asked me if I would become the site rep for the allotment as no one on the site wanted to take the role on. 

I checked with the other plot holders to see if any of them were interested and as they weren't, I accepted the role as I have always found it's easier to get things done if you are on the inside rather than the outside of any organised social gathering or club. The first things I did was to source funding for a new notice board for the allotment, and to show new prospective tenants plots.   

Google map image July 2013

14th August 2014 I visited the council offices to get the planning application for the Parchment Close development on the West boundary of the allotment.

I had already found the application for the conversion of the Business Park on the the North elevation into residential flats. This meant that there would be 
nowhere to park once both of these schemes started. There was a Volvo scrap dealer and car mechanic operating in the industrial unit that was to become the site complex for the Parchment Close development. 

Google map image July 2013

Google map image June 2015 

In August 2015 I took on another half plot 23B on the Spencer Road Allotment down the road because there was adequate parking outside the site and one could also get your car to your plot to drop off and pick up resources, and for a couple of years I worked both half plots on the two allotments. 
As the site rep in 2016 I liaised between the Contracts Manager and Site Agent for the Contractor and the Council, enticing the contractor to do something for the local community and getting the council to give permission for them to do the works for free. 

Mill Green Allotment in 2016 whilst the Parchment Close Estate was being constructed 

26 August 2017 I was on site early in the morning as I had arranged a meeting with Redrow and the Allotments Council Officer regarding the formation of the drop off and pick up area in the overgrown area of the allotment.

It looks like we were not only back on track but in fact we ended up with a better specification of works than we originally had agreed, largely due by the generosity of Natta Building Company Limited the groundworks subcontractor on the Redrow scheme, who I thanked for their generosity, as it was so much appreciated by all the plot holders especially the special needs allotmenteers who work plots 13, 13A & 14 and come to their plots via minivan and car with their carers and who will now be able to be dropped off in the entrance to the allotment. 

The growth and debris in the drop off and pick up area was removed and arising's from the demolition were laid and compacted and a new timber fence to match that erected between the development was agreed to be erected between the bees on plot 14A and the new area.

1st September 2017 A small work party of allotment plot holder was arranged to cut a way into the overgrown area and to create a path and define a line for the contractor to work too when using earth moving equipment to clear and level the area before laying and compacting the risings.  

Now knowing that we were going to get somewhere to park and that we had no one on the waiting list for Mill Green I put my name down to take over plot 1 which I had been fighting from trying to invade plot 1A for a year, should it become vacant. The tenant of Plot 1 & 8 gave his two plots up and thus I gave up my plot at Spencer Road which was a nice plot, lots of gravel in the soil, but suffered from a lot of break-ins and criminal damage by kids because it was next to the playground.    

View of the Drop Off and Pick Up Area (we were not allowed to call it a car park) from the new gates installed. Plot 14A The bees are behind the fence at the rear of the photograph.   

20th October 2017 I took over the vacant plot 1 on the left of the photo above and started Planning My New Kingdom clearing the debris, the hawthorns along the wall, the brambles, mares tail couch grass and bindweed. 

Mill Green Allotment in 2018 Parchment Close Estate development significantly completed, the last few houses towards the entrance of the development are still under construction. The site road that was labeled as Parchment Close in the 2016 photo has now been constructed over and the fencing to the gardens can be seen as just being erected. 

The industrial units on the other side of the wall to the north boundary, are in the process of being converted into flats and the steel framework can be seen in the photo. 

Image July 2021 from Google Earth Pro and the containers used as site accommodation for the Parchment Close development have now been removed and turned into pavement and road for parking. The industrial to residential conversion renamed "Greenside Views" on the north boundary is now complete.

There are no Google Map or Earth images later than 2021.  

2023 Panorama of my plots from the 4th floor balcony of one of the flats next to the Allotment in 
Greenside Views curtesy of a fellow plot holder on the site.

2023 Panorama of the whole of Mill Green Allotments from the 4th floor balcony of one of the flats next to the Allotment in 
Greenside Views curtesy of a fellow plot holder on the site. 

My planting plan for 2024 produced using a CAD package. Makes it easy working out my crop rotation and what's going to be grown where. 

Finally two years ago plots 3A and 11A became vacant. These plots had been used as a dumping ground by its tenant with plot 3A having 22 trees on it they were in no state to be offered to anyone to take on.  Enthusiastic plot holders John & Wally adjacent to both plots cut down the trees, cut back the brambles and exposed all the debris that had been piled there. idverde dragged their feet and missed the opportunity and the plots once again got taken over be weeds and brambles.  

Metal was put to one side and a scrap metal mad called to remove and idverde (allotment Managing Company) dropped the first of a number of skips, so that the plots 11, 11A & 3A can be cleared and hopefully let to one of the 36 people we have on the waiting list for an allotment at Mill Green.

Plot 9 has been vacant since 2015 because it has Japanese knotweed but has never been treated properly and effectively thus that's why its still out of action.

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