Ol’ Barra Lads have always been keen gardeners. As industrial dockland fell into disuse blokes staked a claim and hurriedly fenced it off with corrugated iron sheets, nailed to posts. The Dock Board allowed this and charged 17/6d (87p) per annum.They were built haphazardly where the budding gardener liked the look of the soil and so became random shapes and sizes, which was part of their charm. Sometimes, when renewing a fence it wasn’t unknown for a foot or two of land to be annexed, over time some of the gardens became quite huge.
Les Gardiner’s splendid garden complete with Jolly Roger
They lecture us about recycling, old doors, new use.
There was a touch of the jungle about the old gardens
This sign was up for years, did he ever have any wood?
Eric Picton with his son Jack in his Dad’s garden. Somebody’s having a laugh with before & after picture of Eric, strangly enough, I took both pictures.
Eric takes a break from his labours whilst overseer Mike Kennedy sweats for him.
Overlooking the docks from Aureol House
Ominous, Room 101
Top left: Party timeBottom left: Winter timeAbove: All gone now
As part of the ‘Dockland Regeneration Scheme,’ the old gardens were swept away to be replaced by; nothing, surrounded by miles of security fencing.
The good news is, new allotments were built from St Andrews Crossing right up over an old tip to almost where Aureol House lived. The first group of allotments, (they are allotments now, not gardens), were almost identical in size and shape with an identical shed, fencing and gate. As it has expanded there is now, thank God, some variation.However, strict regulations forbid such ideas as building wind-breaks from corrugated iron, or annexing more land by shifting the fence when nobody was looking. Repairing a fence with somebody’s front door will get the culprit evicted. The rent has also risen slightly, up to £55 per anum.At first, I thought this went against the free spirit of the old jungle, but now as the area has matured, bushes have grown, and the gardens themselves are a credit to their owners.