Market gardening in the mid twentieth century:
Ron Sidwell's landholding maps from the 1940s

In January 2004 we were contacted by Dr Nick Evans from the Geography Department at University College Worcester who has a special interest in horticulture in the Vale of Evesham. He has kindly lent us a series of maps and photographs that give fascinating detail on market gardening in the Vale in the middle of the twentieth century. We reproduce some of this material here.

The maps dating from the 1940s show in very precise and large detail the landholding pattern of growing in the Vale at this time. This includes shape of land parcel, area in fractions of acres and, most importantly, the precise name of the grower.

We now know the maps were made by Ron Sidwell. At the start of the Second World War, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries appointed a War Agricultural Committee, known as the 'War Ag'.. From 1941 Ronald Sidwell was the 'War Ag' District Horticultural Officer for the Vale of Evesham. It was during this time he produced the maps for a 'War Ag' survey.. After the war he became a technical adviser to LBG.

Later, the maps were used as part of a research project conducted at the end of the 1960s by the late Dr. Ron Lodge, former Head of Geography at Worcester. As part of the same research project Dr Lodge also took some photographic slides which are reproduced below.

Above is a small detail from one of the maps. To view the maps click on the area you are interested in. Note these are large jpeg files between 224K and 902K.

'North of Badsey - strips'.
As well as showing the division of field into strips,
the picture shows several market gardening huts or 'hovels'.

Littleton and Badsey Growers
The building, half of which is shown on the right, was the Sundries Department, at the end of the site nearest the level crossing. This building, one of the first on the site dating back to canning factory days, was used during the war as an optical works by J R Fleming a company re-located from London. The building on the left, with the cream coloured oblong sign, was the office block. (With thanks to Alan Bunting whose father was LBG's accountant.)

Littleton and Badsey Station.
Barnett Emanuel was one of several
Covent Garden wholesalers who bought from Badsey growers.

'Just north of LBG'

'Cloches north of Badsey'.
Glass cloches were hard work - time consuming and heavy.

'Sage just south of LBG'

'Badsey fragmented field pattern'.
The map shows the land owned by three market gardeners.

See also Digging for a Living: Market Gardening in Badsey and Aldington

Updated 27 June 2012. Contact email: