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Sheila Groom has lived in Brighton all her life and was born in Caledonian Road, which is just off the Lewes Road.

My father had a ten rod allotment and my two uncles had plots next to him. Our allotment was surrounded by a neat little hedge with a green painted gate. They didnt spend a great deal of money on the allotment because they couldnt really afford to. They didnt go to any garden CENTERs - there werent any in those days even if they had had any money to spend in them! If they wanted to grow a hedge, they picked some privet and some hawthorn and stuck it in the ground. It wasnt exactly their hobby, we were poor and it was war time. But they enjoyed growing food

A ten rod allotment works out at 250 square metres, which is about the standard size of an allotment plot.

My father didnt grow flowers, he grew vegetables such as potatoes, brussel sprouts, cabbages, runner beans, peas and onions. He had a mint and an old rhubarb bed and a compost heap which he moved around occasionally, growing marrows on the old heaps. One year he would save pea and bean seed from his crop, the next he would buy them from seed suppliers.

A lot of people had allotments, and some people kept chickens in their back yards. My aunt kept chickens and she used to kill them herself and distribute them around the family as Christmas presents. We had rabbits, though we never ate them. My granddad sold them on. I used to go out with him collecting food for the rabbits and he told me which plants to gather and which to avoid. We collected mallow, sowthistle, dandelion and lots of grass, and if any of the rabbits had the scours (diarrhoea) he gave them shepherd purse. We dried all the grass out in our backyard and then bagged the hay up for winter feeding.

A18 Sheila on her Dads allotment before it was buried under the Hollingdean estate.

A lot of people had allotments, and some people kept chickens in their back yards. My aunt kept chickens and she used to kill them herself and distribute them around the family as Christmas presents. We had rabbits, though we never ate them. My granddad sold them on. I used to go out with him collecting food for the rabbits and he told me which plants to gather and which to avoid. We collected mallow, sowthistle, dandelion and lots of grass, and if any of the rabbits had the scours (diarrhoea) he gave them shepherd purse. We dried all the grass out in our backyard and then bagged the hay up for winter feeding

We never went away, my father only had a weeks holiday, and the highlight of that was a day out at Barcombe Mills. We hired boats for

   

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