Moorside's History

We are unsure of the date that Moorside Allotments were created, but we do know that it was in the 1940s during the war as part of the Dig for Victory campaign. We were originally known as Nuns Moor Wartime Allotments Association and we were a temporary allotment site of approximately 150 plots which extended both north and south of Fenham Hall Drive. We have an old minutes book which begins in September1948, with Mr Nicholson in the chair. Proceedings were boisterous "towards the close of the meeting the Chairman made reference to a minute which he contended was out of order and asked for it to be expunged. This caused a rather heated discussion and unpleasantnes in the meeting. The Chairman left the meeting and the members dispersed without the meeting being declared closed". By November 1948 Mr Myhill was in the Chair and had to deal with a letter from the City Surveyor concerning a complaint about "unsightly erections which were appearing on the allotments". It transpired that Mr Nicholson had fallen foul of the committe by painting "the hut" (where committee meetings were held) which now became known as "the red hut", without prior consent of the Committee.

1949 At the AGM Mr Myhill was elected Chair. Rents were fixed at 8 shillings per year. After much discusion about unsightly erections it was agreed permission should be sought from the Committee for any future building. During the year there was concern about the poor state of the exterior fencing and it was decided to purchase Growmore, superphosphate, hydrated lime and blue lime. In August the committees attention was drawn to four neglected plots and it was decided to initiate monthly site inspections. The first inspection found 14 gardens not being adequately cultivated and the tenants were written to. In October "an improvement in many of these gardens had since been noted". A committee member noted that a air-raid shelter within the allotments on the north side of Fenham Hall Drive was being used as a urinal "and since it served no other purpose it would be better demolished". This was duly carried out by the City Surveyor. An application was made to the City Smallholdings and Allotments Sub-Committee to extend the allotments to accommodate a growing waiting list. The committe sanctioned the purchase of 50 copies of "The Pocket Companion 1950" at 7 shillings to be sold at not less than 3p per copy.

1950 At the AGM Mr Myhill was again elected Chair. Rent to the council was £57 and there was a positive bank balance of £30. There was discussion in favour of replacing Growmore with potato fertilizer, cost to members 6p per bag. It was noted that remote areas were a long way from taps but this could not be rectified "because the Association had no lease". It was suggested the Association write to the City Planning Officer "to ensure that the Association's holding be included in the City's plans for permanent allotment land". It was also suggested that a noticeboard at the gate on the site of the Wardens Post "might deter trespassers". The association was informed the Freemen were not agreeable to any extension of the allotments. In June a suggestion that sickles be provided for trimming grass was defeated on the grounds that "any such implementswould be the responsibility of noone and would quickly be either useless or missing altogether". In September the City Smallholdings and Allotments Subcommittee wrote a letter stating that "when wartime allotment associations were being formed in the early stages of the War, the arrangements made were that an annual nominal charge of five shillings per occupied plot would be payable and that the Corporation would be responsible for such fencing as in their opinion was advisable. The Corporation also gave a verbal assurance that plot holders would be given time to harvest the crops in the ground on the termination of hostilities. Fortunately there was no neccessity to take steps to terminate the occupation of your allotments immediately after the end of the War and your members have therefore been able to cultivate the plots for a considerable number of years on payment of a nominal charge. Whilst the Corporation has no intention for the time being of making any revision in the charge referred to, it is felt that Allotment Associations should take over the maintainence of fencing". The Association's spirited reply was that they would not assume responsibility for fencing until such time as "a lease on the land is granted".

1951 At the AGM Mr Myhill was again elected Chair. It was noted that the Association's resistance to assuming responsibility for fencing had not born fruit and so the rent was increased to 10 shillings per year to cover the cost of fencing. It was noted that the allotments to the north of Fenham Hall Drive would probably become permanent. A ton of potato fertiliser was ordered. A member asked if the Association could run an annual show.. this was defeated on a show of hands.In April a committee meeting decided that allotment holders on the south side of Fenham Hall Drive would be given preference in obtaining a plot on the north side, due to the threat that the allotments on the south side would be removed. In September The City Surveyor requested that allotment holders did not position their huts within three feet of the railings abutting Moorside North. Mr Myhill asked permission to bring a man and two dogs onto the allotments in an attempt to get rid of the rabbits.

1952 Mr Myhill was again elected Chair. No confirmation had yet been recieved regarding the premanent status of the allotments. It was ascertained that three members had not paid rents last year "it was agreed that sterner measures be taken in future and that notices be posted that the 31st March was the date by which all rents would be paid". A member raised the problem of soot being dumped in the allotments without permission. It was agreed that "a special place be made for the sweep to dump his soot". It was agreed to use chestnut fencing to repair the existing fence. In May "the matter of fencing repairs was gone into, and the amount and quality of the work done by the two men employed at a cost of five pounds each was discussed at some length. It was agreed the cost was too great for the men to be further employed although their work was of high standard. The Committee agreed to get together and do the remainder of the work themselves". It was noted that member had been using a hosepipe to water his garden and the member would be informed that this was not allowed.

(from 1953 onwards only the AGM is minuted)

1953 At the AGM Mr Myhill was elected Chair and 50 members were present. It was agreed to raise the rent to fifteen shillings per year, despite the Council rent being only 2s and 6p per plot to cover fencing costs. A member raised the issue of subletting. It was agreed that subletting was definitely not allowed " but a gardener could take over part of another garden on a friendly basis in order to keep it tidy, there being no money transaction. A member complained of a neighbour erecting a hut half way down his plot, thereby casting shade on his plot. It was agreed to ask this person to move his hut to the end of the plot, as everyone else had done.

1954 65 members were present at the AGM. Mr Myhill was again elected Chairman. A proposal that the association hold an annual flower and vegetable show was defeated. The question of members encroaching onto the paths was raised. It was agreed the paths should be at least ten feet wide to allow the passage of a cart. One member suggested that members with plots on the norhern boundary should vacate their plots in order to take up vacant plots in the middle of the site, allowing the Freemen to take up the vacated allotments. However it was decided that "this would provide the Freemen with the thin end of the wedge to take over the all the allotment". The suggestion was rejected. On the other hand the meeting agreed that "when the Chairman or Secretary was on the allotments they should notify the members by raising a flag". An undated insert is a cutting from the Evening Chronicle entitled "The vanishing fence". During the miner's strike "612 yards of wooden fencing from Nunsmoor was stolen for firewood. The cost of replacing it with concrete posts and tubular rails would be £1,720 said the City Treasurer, Mr Davies. When asked why a fence was neccessary at all, Mr Davies reminded members "There are cows on the Moor, I suppose that if we did not have the cows we would probably have to pay to have the grass cut".

1955 75 members attended the AGM. Mr Snowdon was elected Chairman. The Secretary said there were good grounds for beleiving the North Side would become permanent allotments from September 1955. Because members had been leaving the allotment site without informing the Committee, leading to confusion and loss of revenue, it was decided each member would pay a deposit of ten shillings, recoverable on leaving the site.

1956 46 members attended the AGM and Mr Snowdon was again elected Chair. It was agreed that the association would henceforth be called Moorside Allotments Association. The rent was increased to 21 shillings and the Chairman and Vice-Chairman would be allowed to garden rent-free.

1957 30 members attended the AGM. A temporary commitee was formed to revise the association rules. Mr Snowdon was again elected Chairman.

1958 Only 23 members attended the AGM. Mr Snowdon was once more elected Chair. It was agreed "that we offer Triangle Allotments Association £3-3s and a sixth of a ton of lime and fertilizer on their forming of a new association"

1959 18 members attended. Mr Freeman was elected Chair. A member raised the matter of non payment of the three guineas to be given to Triangle Allotments. The Secretary apologised that this seemed to be an oversight which would be rectified.

1960 24 members attended the AGM. Rent was increased to £1..5s and Mr Freeman elected Chair

1961 23 members were present, Mr Freeman being re-elected as Chair.

1962 31 members attended and Mr Freeman was again elected. It was reported that "Sundry views were then put forward about the advisability of having regular committee meetings, but as this idea did not seem to have general approval it was dropped". It was suggsted the Chairman and Vice-Chairman "visit the gardens of those people who do not maintain them in reasonable condition and if suitable action was not taken , ask them to leave".

1963 Only 18 members were present, Mr Freeman being once more elected as Chair. "Mr P. Forrest wanted to know the point of the Association having a committee which in fact never met and despite the Secretary's reassurance that the committee was on hand, should anyone require to bring anything to its notice. Mr Burns rose to his feet and said that all the associations he had ever been connected with had held regular meetings even when there wasn't anything to discuss. A general discussion then took place". (The precise outcome of this discussion is not minuted!).

1964 22 members attended the AGM with Mr Freeman elected Chair.The Secretary was granted an honararium of £10 and the Chair of £5 and after "prolonged discussion" a 5 shillings rebate was granted to pensioners "upon production of satisfactory evidence". The standard rent was £1 per annum.

1965 Only 14 members were present and Mr Freeman was re-elected Chair. The Secretary, Mr Whithead, wished to resign but since nobody wanted to replace him, he agreed to carry on.

1966 Only 12 members started the meeting, though two more arrived later. Mr Freeman again elected Chair

1967 Just 7 members were present and Mr Freeman again elected as Chairman. It was noted there were 8 plots vacant.

1968 13 members were present and Mr Freeman re-elected as Chairman. Rents were increased to 25 shillings and £1 for OAPs "owing to our financial position with so many vacant plots".A cultivator had been bought but "as we have no proper accommodation it would be best to request the council if we could insure it against theft". It was agreed "to place cards in various shops advertising gardens to let"

1969 Again 13 members were present and again Mr Freeman elected Chair. It was agreed the Secretary would write to the Council about the boundary fencing.

1970 25 members attended and Percy Freeman was again elected as Chair. The Secretary reported he had had "no acknowledgement whatsoever" to his letter to the Council Estates Office "and considered obtaining assistance with the fencing by Estates and Property was a dead duck".. "Several members volunteered to assist in repair work". A member asked for the water to be turned on but the Chairman pointed out that over the winter all the taps had been stolen and he was obtaining fresh second hand taps and the water supply would be turned on in a day or two.

1971 23 members attended the AGM with Mr Freeman again elected Chairman. Several members complained that their tenancies had been ended despite having paid an annual rent. However it was recognised that gardens that were very overgrown were hard to re-let. It was agreed that a four week period of grace would follow a warning letter and if no attempt had been made at cultivation the garden would be relet.

1972 No record of the number of members at the AGM was made; Mr Freeman agian elected Chair.Rents remained at 25 shillings as standard and £1 for OAPs.

1973 29 members and one dog attended the AGM and Mr Freeman again elected Chair. "An application to keep bees on an allotment was turned down as it was considered that the many women gardeners and children on the gardens may be embarrassed". There was a committee meeting in September and it was recorded that "Mr Freeman did not turn up". A discussion took place about complaints about undug and weed overgrown gardens when there was a waiting list of 18 names and several members would be written to threatening termination unless improvement was made by the end of the year.

1974 34 members were present at the AGM. Mr Freeman did not wish to continue as Chair. Mr MacKillup "pointed out that Mr Freeman had been Chairman for 40 years and proposed he be given a free garden which was agreed unanimously" (This seems to be an exaggeration as the successive minutes above indicate Mr Freeman was Chair for 15 years). Mr Bosko was appointed Chair. Rents were increased to £2 and £1.50. It was noted that fences newly erected by the Council had been vandalised and destroyed.

1975 42 members were present at the AGM. Mr Babic was elected Chair. Two members had created a lockable double gate, but the other two gates were in a bad state of repair.Thieves had taken two water baths. A member proposed that application be made to extend the allotments but this was turned down after a lengthy discussion, leaving the matter to the "local Allotments Council and Friends of the Earth". Drs Leathard and Brantingham "spoke concerning members of a family having a garden and a hut and sleeping nightly in the hut and throwing away human filth" and suggesting enquiries be made about toilets for the allotment. Complaints were also made "about a vicious dog".

1976 52 members were present and Mr Bullock-Anderson was elected as Chairman. "A long discussion followed concerning a member with a garden and a hut. It was said the complaint made at the last meeting still continued. The gardener in question was present. It was unanimously agreed that the dog be taken from the hut and kept off the gardens forthwith and the gardener gave this undertaking. With regard to the family sleeping in the hut, the gardener strongly denied this saying his early and late visits were to feed the dog kept in the hut. A proposal to put the gardener off the garden was not proceeded with and it was left to the new committee to deal with the matter". The Secretary proposed ending the deposit system "on the grounds that it had long ended its original purpose" and this was agreed. "The question of forming a vigilante patrol to operate in harvest time was mooted". Undated there is a copy of a circular letter sent to all members to say that all garden paths must be cleaned up by the 1st October. The committee would treat all outstanding areas with weedkiller and the cost of the weedkiller and labour would be charged to the offending gardener.

1977 A committee meeting in January was held at Mr Bullock-Anderson's house. It was noted that the council were going to bring in new tenancy arrangements in June. Rents would probably have to go up. At the AGM 61 members were present and Mr Bullock-Anderson re-elected as Chair. The Chair had signed the new tenancy agreement with the Council despite advice from the Northumberland Gardeners Association that the agreement was invalid. Rents might be increased to £8 and £6 for pensioners, payable by the 1st April. It was noted that not enough gardeners had come forward to form a vigilante patrol. A tribute was paid to the outgoing Secretary, Mr Bain, and he was awarded a free allotment for three years. At a committee meeting in March it was decided both to close the waiting list and to hold the waiting list "only for local residents". The committee would "look at cultivation, repairing huts, cutting trees" on plots monthly. At a committee meeting in October a special inspection sub-committe was set up. It was noted that the current account contained £292 and the deposit account £583.

1978 40 members were present at the AGM and Mr Bullock Anderson was re-elected Chair. Rents were set at £5 per full plot and £3 for pensioners but these would need to go up next year when the Council increased rents. The council had agreed to renew the perimeter fence on the Town Moor and along Fenham Hall Drive. Mr Bullock Anderson had been elected as Secretary of the Newcastle and District Allotments and Garden Council. A committee report for 1978 noted that the new water system was put in with 27 taps "the work was caried out by voluntary labour by our members with the exception of digging the main trenches". It is noted that some gardens are subject to temporary flooding "the matter has been taken up with the City Council without any positive results so far. Pressure will continue".

1979 In January 1979 a committee meeting noted the Secretary "would endeavour to arrange the new boundary fence should have posts at least six foot high so that barbed wire could be added to the top of the fence". The top gate would be sited next to plot 88. At the AGM there were 32 members present and Mr Bullock-Anderson elected Chair. A new set of Rules were adopted. It was agreed the Chair would recive a free garden in lieu of an honorarium and the secretary would recive a free garden and £20. A skip and noticeboards were to be ordered and all members were asked to help spread ten loads of ash provided by the Council on the paths. A scheme for buying seeds and fertilizers is to be set up. A committee meeting in July noted that 20 members had been spoken to regarding the poor condition of their gardens. A member is to be told to remove his cats from the allotments. An end of year report indicate Moorside has 109 allotments and a waiting list of 16. New tenants will be offered just half a plot. The fence around the perimeter of the allotments was completed but was only 1.4 metres... not as high as expected.

1980 There were 26 members at the AGM and Mr Bullock Anderson remained Chair. Mrs C Dodd was elected to the committee (She seems to have been the first Moorside female committee member). It was noted that the new fence was being damaged by cattle and vandals and it was proposed to add three strands of barbed wire above the fence. An end of year report noted that the barbed wire had now been added. The member with cats "had at least reduced the number of cats on his plot". Attempts had been made to reduce flooding on plots 36,37 and 38 without much success. The waiting list stood at 17 and 42 members ordered 1,200 packets of seeds.

1981 30 members attended the AGM and Wilf Bullock-Anderson was elected Chair. An end of year report noted that the matter of the members cats would be left to the Chairman. Rents next year would have to go up to £8.50 and £6 for OAPs next year. In April the council replaced the inadequate perimeter fence with "a greatly superior fence". 18 new gardeners were welcomed during the year leaving a waiting list of 11.

1982 36 members were present at the AGM and Mr Bullock-Anderson re-elected Chair. Mrs Dodd left the committee but was replaced by Miss Rowell. An end of year report notes that in 1982 ten new gardeners were welcomed, but the waiting list nevertheless increased to 20 "the demand for allotments is definitely on the increase as far as we are concerned". Moorside was included in "Newcastle in Bloom" and "we were awarded the prize for the best allotment site in the West City district". Rents would go up next year to £10.50 and£8 for OAPs.

1983 27 members were present at the AGM and Mr Bullock-Anderson elected Chair. A member suggested a Flower and Produce Show to run prior to Harvest Festival at St James "but regrettably little interest was shown". It was suggested the allotments should consider locking the gates "if and when a new perimeter fence was erected along the Moor boundary". An end of year report noted there were 110 members with 18 members joining during the year, leaving a waiting list of 5. The bank balance was £1,200. The council had agreed to take action regarding flooding on plots 36,37 and 38.

1984 32 Members were present at the AGM and Mr Bullock-Anderson was in the Chair. A new trophy for the best newcomer progress was awarded to Mr Halpin. The Chairman requested members not cause nuisance to local residents with fires. There was a discussion on trees; self-seeded saplings should be removed but no mature tree should be cut or lopped without permission of the Committee. The new fence would be erected in March.

1985 There were 30 members at the AGM with Mr Bullock Anderson in the Chair. Terry Maxwell was elected Vice-Chairman. The best progress cup for a newcomer was presented to Mr Deans of plot 34. It was agreed that locks would be fitted to the three main gates.

1986 The number of members present at the AGM was not recorded; Mr Bullock-Anderson remained as Chairman. The rent was increased to £12.50 per annum for a full plot. The newcomer trophy was awarded to Mrs Laws "for having kept such a tidy garden and the work put into it".

1987 There were 53 members present at the AGM. Mr Bullock-Andersom retired as Chairman, his place being taken by Terry Maxwell. A waiting list of 18 had recently been cleared with three plots now vacant; there were 106 members and 109 plots. It is noted that "the possibility of treating vacant plots with weedkiller was raised. The precise nature of the weedkiller was to be left to the Committee bearing in mind the dangerous chemicals contained in some, particularly in regard to children". Also "questions were raised as to the value of locks on the gates as a deterrent to thieves and vandals. There were complaints that tools had been stolen in spite of the locks and one member thought the locks a nuisance.Mr Terry Maxwell pointed out that the gates were often not locked and emphasised the importance of locking gates if the system were to work effectively. It was also mentioned that the police would only take responsibility for thefts if there were locks on the gates. On balance, members were in favour of the system". Finally "a question was raised about the cup which in previous years had been awarded for the best garden. No cup had been awarded this year and indeed the cup had been returned to the Council and would need to be re-applied for".

        A committee meeting wa held in May 1987. Terry Maxwell proposed that a noticeboard be erected "sideways between plots 67 and 34". To be displayed on the board would be the Chairman's name and address, a map of the site, committee members names and names and addresses of suppliers of manure. There were no unlet allotments other than 2 and 13 which were deemed unlettable. About 50 members had not paid their rents on time and it was proposed a surcharge of £1 be levied if rents were not in by the 31st March. The Council had been asked to proced with felling of trees on plot 25 and opposite plots 7 and 8 but "the matter had not been dealt with". The Easter skip had been unfortunately dropped outside the gates rather than inside. It was agreed to hold regular inspections of all allotments.

      A committee meeting in October 1987 agreed that members not maintaining their plots would be given first a verbal warning. "If this was unsuccessful the Secretary would send a letter". It was decided not to participate in the seed scheme as it was felt to be "a lot of effort for very little gain".

1988 There were 39 members present at the AGM with Terry Maxwell in the Chair. Wilf Bullock-Anderson was retiring to Northumberland and resigned from the committee. He was thanked for his considerable serrvice to Moorside Allotments.The Council Allotment Officer would be asked to repair some damaged fencing. It was noted that Elliot the Chemist in Two Ball Lonnen had a good discount on seeds. There were now 6 vacant plots and adverts would be placed in Fenham Library and local newsagents for new gardeners.

     A committee meeting in November 1988 noted advertising had brought in 6 new members. However 8 plots were still vacant. There had still been no progress with tree felling and "The Chairman will have a word with Drs Marshall and Thompson about small trees on their plots". Mrs Rachel Gee resigned as Secretary, Frank Lightfoot taking over as Secretary. Mr Halpin (who sat on the Council advisory body on allotments) notes the Council was threatening "to take over neglected allotment sites, the poor state of Nunsmoor Allotments puts them at risk". The Treasurer felt that next years rents would have to go up 25% to £16 for a full plot.

1989 35 members were present at the AGM, chaired by Terry Maxwell. It was noted that the Council had felled five large willow trees, but no action was taken with regard to the other trees on site. The rent was set at £14.25 per full plot. There were still 8 vacant plots and further adverts would be placed locally.

1990 22 members attended the AGM. Terry Maxwell had retired as Chair in February so Trevor Storey was elected Chairman. Sian Tallett and Krys Gaffney (sisters) were elected as joint Secretary. Recruiting strategies had been fruitful and there was only one half plot vacant with 8 on the waiting list. Just before the AGM, 20 taps and fittings were stolen; J Calver, a member, replaced them. Full plot rent was set at £16 (plus £1 for late payment). Jim Halpin said that signs were available from the Council indicating a fine of £50 for vandalism on allotments. It was agreed that inspections should take place every two months. A letter of thanks was sent to Terry Maxwell for his hard work as Chairman.

       In April 1990 an Inspection meeting noted 10 vacant plots and 5 unworked plots.

1991 29 members attended the AGM and Trevor Storey took the Chair. It was noted that "The Stewards of the Freemen had visited Moorside and were concerned about inter-allotment fences and some sheds. It was decided that it was "no longer feasible" to offer concessionary rents. There were seven vacant plots. There was concern about over-use of water but after discussion no sanctions would be applied; instead "it was agreed that common-sense and cooperation should be exercised in the use of water". There were two further committee meetings during the year.

1992 20 members attended the AGM with Trevor Storey in  the Chair. Following visits by the Freemen several sheds had been demolished and permission from the Committee would be required for the erection of any shed or greenhouse. One of the huts on site had formerly been a sweet kiosk at the 1929 Newcastle Exhibition and the City Planning Officer had expressed an interest in placing the hut in a museum. Rents were set at £23 full plot and £12 half plot and a reduction of £2 was agreed for pensioners over 65. Six plots were vacant and there was no waiting list so "plots are available on a first come basis". The rabbit population was causing concern and the police had arrested a man who had been "potting partridges with an air rifle". He was let off with a caution. The death of former Chairman Wilf Bullock-Anderson was recorded.

1993 There were 32 members at the AGM and Trevor Storey was Chairman. It was noted that the residents of Moorside North had been paying £1 annually to the Freemen for access to the Moor through the top gate to Moorside. The Stewards had raised this fee to £50 and as a result some residents had decided not to pay. The top gate had been left open and cattle had strayed into the allotments causing considerable damage. Nothing had been heard from the planning officer concerning his interest in the sweet kiosk/hut.

1994 32 members came to the AGM chaired by Trevor Storey. Sian Tallet had withdrawn as joint Secretary because of a move to Worcestershire so Krys Gaffney was now sole Secretary. It was noted that Jim Whitchurch had retired from his Moorside plot aged 92. There was no longer a problem with rabbits on site but the cause of this  was unknown. 18 tons of ash were spread over driveways on site. During the year there were two committee meetings.

1995 25 members attended the AGM with Trevor Storey chairing.It was noted that during te year three complete huts had been stolen from Moorside. Rents were £28 for a full plot, £15 for a half plot

1996 There were 23 members at the AGM; Trevor Storey was in the Chair. Between 5% and 10% of plots had been vacant during the year. The Chairman noted that this was not sustainable as Moorside needed to let 100 plots to be viable. Rents were raised to £30 full and £16 half plot with 15% concession for pensioners over 65 and the long-term unemployed.

1997 The AGM had 21 attenders with Trevor Storey chairing the meeting. There were 7 vacant plots and no waiting list. Mrs Laws aged 90 was Moorside's oldest gardener.

1998 19 members came to the AGM and Trevor Storey was in the chair. Rents were increased to £33 and £17.50 for full/half plots. It was noted  that access to some of the driveways was difficult because of rubbish. More ash would be ordered for the drives. During the year there was one committee meeting.

1999 23 members attended the AGM with Trevor Storey chairing. It was noted that the very wet weather during the year had discouraged members and there were now 14 vacant plots. Members were urged to weed the driveways outside their allotments.

2000 Again 23 members attended the AGM with Trevor Storey in the Chair. Trevor had attended the first meeting of the new Newcastle Allotments Working Group, having been invited on the basis of his chairmanship of Moorside. He noted that NAWG had agreed that 75% of individual allotment plots should be under cultivation. A Moorside inspection/working group of D.Bainbridge, S.Brophy, H. Carter and D. Lydon would check plots to make sure they were being worked and would "tidy up the site". It was noted that the safety of the ash placed on driveways from the Byker incinerator was being questioned by the Council. There had been thefts of crops and produce during the year and members were asked to be vigilant and keep the access gates locked. It was suggested Moorside should start a quarterly newsletter.

       During 2000 there were two committee meetings. in June the Chairman reported that 17 plots showed no sign of cultivation and letters would be sent out. A group of German scientists took 20-30 soil samples from Moorside to check for toxicity following the ash fears. The results would not be known until 2001. There was concern about flooding off Nunsmoor onto the site and L.Wright had put in a drainage pipe from the east drive turn-round area to the culvert in an attempt to divert water away from the east lane. Plot 67 was unusable because of flooding and suggestions for its conversion to a communal area, a pond or a car park were suggested. The newsletter was deferred.

      In September it was agreed to buy a heavy duty strimmer to be hired out to members. The ash on the driveways was replaced by the council with carbonated limestone.

2001 22 members came to the AGM and Trevor Storey was Chairman. There was still no news of the soil samples but NAWG had announced that the Council had £25,000 compensation to distribute to the 31 allotment sites that had been in receipt of ash. The strimmer had been stolen from the Chairman's garage. It was agreed that Moorside would join the NSALG insurance scheme to secure public liability insurance. This would cost approximately £1 per member.

     There was one committee meeting during the year in March. Moorside had been awarded £1,800 in ash compensation. It was agreed that the primary need was for drainage works. However it was also noted that Fenham Allotments Association was due to be closed down in 2002 and that Moorside might bid for their metal container hut, parrafin store and rotavator.

2002 30 members attended the AGM with Trevor Storey once again chairing. It was noted that the new allotments officer, Helen Grantham, would consult a land drainage expert to see how drainage for Moorside could be improved. Suggestions from the floor about how to use the £1,800 ash windfall included:- a member's hut; an allotment shop; greenhouses; a show allotment; a portable toilet. Following the demise of Fenham Allotments "Members were reassured that the Freemen had no intention of closing any more allotment sites".

    During 2002 there were four  committee meetings. In May it was noted that plot 67 had been cleared by a digger and metal containers might be available free from Vickers for an allotment shop. In July it was noted that there was only one vacant plot and that our council lease had been extended from annual to triennial. In August the Freemen inspected the site and insisted plots should be fully cultivated and weed-free. The Freemen confirmed that the Council was responsible for drainage of the Town Moor. The Freemen also agreed to the siting of a metal container on plot 67.

2003 24 members attended the AGM and this was Trevor Storey's last meeting in the Chair, as he was standing down after 13 years. Jeff Sutcliffe was the new Chairman Elect. Krys Gaffney continued as Secretary and Margaret Maddison was Treasurer.It was noted that last year there had been a very high water bill of £900 possibly due to leakage. The £1,800 ash compensation had been spent on a container and the equipment to create a Trading Hut. The shop would be staffed by Harry Carter, Neils Souter and Rob Reed. Jeff Sutcliffe proposed holding six committee meetings during the year.

       In March 2003 it was noted that the Trading Hut was open on Sat and Sun mornings and was profitable. The Allotment Officer would be asked to look into flooding on Moorside. There were complaints about smoke from bonfires drifting onto Moorside North and a "bonfire guidelines" document would be produced. The ban on hosepipes would be relaxed. It was agreed in principle that a community hut would be a valuable asset. In April it was noted the Freemen had agreed to a community hut as long as it was no bigger than the existing trading hut.

      In June 2003 it was recorded that there were to be three inspections of plots annually and "on the whole most plots were in good order". All plots were now let and there was a waiting list of three. No member would be offered a second plot whilst there was a waiting list. Jeff Sutcliffe conducted a members survey; members concerns were mainly about security and dogs on site.

     In July 2003 it was noted the Comfrey Project were now on site and making good progress

     In September 2003 a grant for the Community Hut had been obtained from Wingrove Ward and the Lottery Fund. A first newsletter was produced and had had good feedback. A three year strategy and action plan was approved. Also in September the first Moorside Allotment Show was held and despite rain was adjudged to be a success. In the City Allotment Show Moorside received third prize for best large city site.

2004 35 members were present at the AGM with Jeff Sutcliffe in the Chair. Neils Souter was now Treasurer. Rents were £30 for a full plot. Planning permission was being sought for the new Community Hut.

      In March 2004 the following tasks were allocated to committee members:- Newsletter and Publicityand Open Day... Jeff Sutcliffe and Krys Gaffney; Lettings and Waiting List... Jeff Sutcliffe; Trading Hut and Comunity Hut... Rob Reed and Harry Carter; Maintenance ... Barbara and George Taylor; Health and Safety... Neils Souter; The Show...Jeff Sutcliffe, Frank Lightfoot and Neils Souter; Inspections.... Jeff Sutcliffe, Stan Tortoise, Nigel Wood and Krys Gaffney. In order to rectify flooding on Moorside North and South, Northunbria Water would be doing works in the SW corner of the allotments. They had offerd £2,000 in compensation for disruption of plots. It was proposed that a Gardening Club be established. The Trading Hut had obtained a licence to sell paraffin.

     In May 2004 it was reported that the Northumbria Water project would be to build a large tank under the SW corner of the allotments at a cost of 1 million pounds. 8 allotments would have to be temporarily vacated. The work would begin in August 2004 and end in February 2005. £2000 would be available to compenste the affected gardeners. A programme for the second Moorside Show noted there were 28 categories for entries.

    In September 2004 it was said that the Moorside Show had been well attended and 30 members showing exhibits created a total of 200 entries. Moorside won joint  first prize in the City Allotment competition for best large allotment site. New padlocks and non-duplicating keys had been ordered to increase site security; there would be a £10 key deposit.

    In October 2004 it was noted that a generator had been purchased and tables and tubs acquired by Harry Carter from Wingrove Primary School for use in the communal area. There were 15 "keen gardeners" on the waiting list.

2005 The AGM attracted 35 members with Jeff Sutcliffe in the Chair. Krys Gaffney remained Secretary and Neils Souter, Treasurer.  Rent was £38 for a full plot. It was reported that the maintenance team had cleared the culvert in the north-east corner and hoped to establish a wildlife area there. Harry Carter, Rob Reed, Neils Souter and Stan Tortoise had manned the Trading Hut "come rain or shine". At the City Show Frank Lightfoot won first prize for best wildlife plot; Comfrey Project first prize for best Community plot; Nicki Walter third prize for best plot with glass; Nigel Wood third prize for best newcomer. The Community Hut had been delivered and was proving a useful asset. Funding had been applied for to create a community garden next to the community area. The Northumbria Water project had been delayed... it began in October 2004 and was due to finish in May 2005. Eight allotment-holders had been displaced and compensated.Security continued to be a problem and it was proposed to put a hawthorn hedge around the site perimeter.

  In March Jeff Sutcliffe reported he had obtained a grant of £2,700 from the Community Foundation to establish a community garden and had obtained Heritage funding to produce a heritage noticeboard. Northumbria Water agreed to pay £2,000 compensation to the 8 gardeners displaced by their works at the west gate.

  In April after heavy rain there was flooding on site. The Allotment Officer agreed to cost out the provision of drains around perimeter of the site. In May it was reported there had been a social evening and quiz with over forty members and guests attending and enjoying a pie and peas supper. In June it was noted the water works were nearly complete. All plots were let with a waiting list of four.

  In July Moorside won the Best Large Site trophy in the City allotment competition. Frank Lightfoot won Best Wildlife Friendly Plot and the Comfrey Project were Best Group Project. George Taylor's work in maintaining the site was commended. In August preparations were underway for the 3rd annual Moorside Show with the purchase of a marquee. Neils Souter had started a garden club and there were 12 members.

  In September the Moorside Show attracted over 250 exhibits, was sponsored by Warburtons with a tv as the raffle prize.

2006 There were 33 members at the AGM and Jeff Sutcliffe was again in the Chair. It was noted that the Trading hut had been open for over 200 hours during the year, manned by Harry Carter, Stan Tortoise, Rob Reed and Neils Souter.

  In March Jeff Sutcliffe reported that a grant of £4,300 had been obtained for building the toilet block. Moorside was twinned with with the peri-urban Vegetable Project in the Phillipines.

    In July Jeff Sutcliffe resigned as Chair in anticipation of a move to Scotland. George Taylor took over as Chairman.

2007 28 members attended the AGM with George Taylor in the Chair. It was decided that the compost area (plots1 and 2) would be used as manure area and a gate would be constructed to allow access from Fenham Hall Drive. The gardening club had dwindled to 4 members. The waiting list was now 20 and the list was temporarily closed. Harry Carter was appointed Lettings Officer. The rent was now £40 per full plot. The Moorside newsletter is edited by Rob Germany.

 In August it was noted that the Moorside Show would be sponsored by the World of Water with the main raffle prize being a shower unit. Peter and Liz Whewell won Best Newcomer in the City Allotment competition. Harry Carter reported that the Trading Hut had taken £1000 more than during the equivalent period last year.

2008 There were 41 members at the AGM and George Taylor was in the Chair. The meeting "expressed no interest in having a social club". The meeting was informed of the death of Trevor Storey who had been Chairman for 13 years. There was concern that members were not tidying the driveways in front of their plots and giving fines to relcalcitrant members was suggested. Solar panels on the toilet block to heat the water had been stolen.

 In March it was noted that recent soil samples analysed by the Council had been shown to be free of toxic substances. Peter Whewell volunteered to set up a Moorside website. In July George Taylor stood down from the Chair and Peter Whewell was elected Chairman. In early September the Moorside Show had to be cancelled because of torrential rain on the day. In the City Show Frank Lightfoot was the best Master Gardener.

(The website was set up in July 2008 and web details of Moorside's history from July 2008 can be obtained via the News Archive button on the Home page. )

  In September it was agreed that a subcommittee would draw up a new Moorside Constitution and Rules as the existing Constitution and Rules was at least 30 years old and out of date. Regular monthly inspections of all plots by an inspection subgroup of the committee began.

  In November it was noted that the waiting list now stood at 21. The Chair was involved in the design of Mooorside's heritage notice-board which would have three themes:- A potted history; a growing concern and rooted in the community. The Trading Hut had increased its turnover considerably, causing increasing workload and accounting difficulties.

2009 Over 50 members attended the AGM with Peter Whewell in the Chair. The new 2009 Constitution and Rules was approved by the meeting. The feasibility and ethics of culling crows and magpies on site to protect song-birds was discussed at length. Instead it was agreed to encourage songbirds by provision of nest boxes. The Vice-Chairman queried the Trading Hut accounts and the legality of the Association awarding its officers small honoraria. It was agreed to investigate these matters. However "the ill-feeling and dysharmony generated by acrimonious exchanges between the Vice-Chairman and the Trading Hut Manager caused the Chairman to call the meeting to a close". The Trading Hut Managers resigned.

  In February an EGM to discuss the future of the Trading Hut was attended by 27 members. Sixteen members volunteered to staff the Hut on a rotating basis with Susan Pownall as overall Trading Hut Manager. The Trading Hut accounts had been vetted by the Secretary of the Newcastle Allotments Working Group and were adjudged to be in good order. Nicola Loose was appointed Treasurer with Krys Gaffney continuing as Secretary. A fruit grafting workshop was held and the Moorside Garden Club was restarted. A subgroup was set up to create a bee-friendly garden out of the overgrown site next to the Community Hut. The Moorside Heritage sign-board was erected at the entrance of the middle drive.

  In May the committee were pleased to hear that the Trading Hut was doing well with a concomitant positive effect on Moorside's well-being. In order to cope with the increasing waiting list new plotholders would be offered half plots.There had been succesful seed-swap and seedling swap open days organised by Emma Hughes.

  In August interest was expressed by a member in keeping bees on Moorside. The committee was supportive of this idea. Rob Germany had restarted the Moorside newsletter. A grant had been obtained from the Ward Committee to produce the new Constitution and Rules in booklet form for every member.

  In September the Show Secretary, Neils Souter, reported the Moorside Show had been a success and generated over £200 profit. At the City Show George Taylor won Best Plot with Glass whilst Frank Lightfoot was City Master Gardener and won Best Wildlife Plot.

  In December it was noted that Peter Whewell had been co-opted as West of Newcastle Representative on the Newcastle Allotment Working Group (NAWG) and was also co-opted onto a small subgroup creating the Newcastle Allotment Strategy. A grant was obtained via Northumberland Wildlife Trust to plant a wildlife friendly security hedge inside the whole 200 yards of our east fence.

2010 More than 40 members attended the AGM with Peter Whewell in the Chair. Vandalism and theft continued on site and three greenhouses had been destroyed with the theives taking the aluminium supports. The police had offered that the police helicopter would scan Moorside at night if in the area. It was noted that the trading hut "forms a social focal point on the site". The Garden Club had been poorly attended "some members are only interested in gardening and not attending a garden club". Future projects included attempting to address the flooding problem on site and a research project with Newcastle University on the importance and benefits of allotment tenancy.

  In February a first meeting of the Moorside Bee-group was held with five moorside members. It was agreed that members would attend training courses and a grant for setting up hives would be sought. Also in February the wild-life friendly hedge was planted inside our east fence. A grant of £500 from Muckle Solicitors was married with a £500 contribution from the Council allowing paving round the toilet block. 46 members completed the Newcastle University allotment questionnaire.

 In April a grant of over £7,000 was obtained from the Sustainable Communities Fund with half to be used for creating a bumble-bee garden with sign-boards and half to be used for setting up beekeeping on Moorside. A grant of nearly £2,000 was obtained for a canopy to protect the space between the Trading Hut and the Community Hut. Moorside had been chosen to represent Newcastle in Northumberland in bloom and was given a number of large planters by the Council.

  In June Tony Whittle set up the first Moorside beehive. The Foreman of the Newcastle Freemen had agreed to investigate drainage problems on Nunsmoor that were affecting Moorside. Also in June Susan Pownall was elected as area 5 Representative on the Newcastle Allotment Working Group.

  In July a final report of the Newcastle University research was received from Professor  Tim Townshend. This 35 page report "Plotting a better Future: a Survey of Moorside Allotments" can be seen by going to the News Archive button and clicking on August 2010. George Taylor won the City Best Plot with Glass for the second year running. Alison Benjamin, the Guardian Environment Editor, came to Moorside to find out about our bee-keeping. Subsequently three pages of her book "Bees in the City" were devoted to Moorside. A Newcastle Allotments Bee Group (NABG) had been set up with Peter Whewell as Chair/Secretary and with rules and advice about beekeeping that all Moorside beekeepers would need to comply with. Moorside would compose its own specific bee safety advice document.

 In September at the City Show, Harry Carter was City Master Gardener

  In December Montse Ferres designed an excellent 2011 Moorside Calender for sale to members A new noticeboard was commissioned for the middle driveway.

2011 More than 45 members attended the AGM and Peter Whewell was in the Chair. Krys Gaffney remained as Secretary with Nicola Loose as Treasurer. It was agreed that the rent for a full plot would rise to £55. The question of site maintenance was discussed with re-affirmation that plotholders were responsible for the driveways outside their plots. A maintenance group would also be created. It was agreed to stop the gifting of honoraria to committee officers. A new category of Honorary Member for past members who had contributed greatly to the running or well-being of Moorside was created. Rob Germany was elected as the first Honorary Member.

  In April a subgroup met with an energy consultant to discuss the possibility of providing electricity via photovoltaic cells. It was eventually decided that the problems of connecting to the mains and of theft/ vandalism were too great to make this scheme feasible.

 In June it was decided to draft a Moorside Tree Strategy. School-children from Westfield School visited Moorside under supervision and conducted a bee count. In July the Comfrey Project held a willow-weaving event. In relation to the flooding onto Moorside from Nunsmoor neither the Council nor the Freemen had been able to locate relevant drains on the Moor. Also in July the committee were pleased to learn that Moorside won first prize for the Best Allotment Site in Newcastle.

  In September there was another successful Moorside Show and at the City Show Harry Carter was City Master Gardener, with Frank Lightfoot winning Best Wildlife Plot.

  In December it was reported that the Freemen had refused Moorside's request to plant bee-friendly flowers outside our boundary along Fenham hall Drive.

2012 The AGM was attended by 59 members and Peter Whewell was in the Chair. The Moorside Tree Strategy was approved and honorary membership conferred on former member Ben Rudden and former Chairman Terry Maxwell. It was noted that Moorside was expected to conform to the NAWG guidelines on plot cultivation which stated that 75% of each plot should be under cultivation. A new newsletter was planned.

  In February Moorside was informed by the Council that parking would be restricted on Fenham Hall Drive. A questionnaire survey of our members by the committee supporting the need for parking space outside the allotments was forwarded to the Council. In response the Council agreed to create a lay-by.

  In March it was noted that there were now 36 on the waiting list. In May the committee visited Red House Farm Allotments in Whitley Bay to look at their spacious trading hut. Moorside had obtained a grant from Wingrove Ward for £4,000 to create a less able bedded plot on 109b. Dave Eason would cordinate a group growing seedlings for sale at the Trading Hut.

  In June some asbestos was found in the skip resulting in a fine for Moorside. An expert was invited to investigate the whole site and four more pieces of asbestos were identified. These were removed by the council. Kostas Hrisos produced the first of the new series of Moorside newsletters, in colour and 16 pages long.

  In July eight sets of taps were stolen from Moorside. Colin Hadley sourced and fitted new taps. In October it was noted that the Moorside Show had gone well. At the City Show Frank Lightfoot was Master Gardener and Peter and Liz Whewell won best Plot without Glass. The Secretary of NAWG, Peter Horrocks, had died suddenly and Peter Whewell succeeded him as Secretary. The seed scheme had been a great success. Large planters for the less able plot were ordered from Key Enterprises.

2013 There were more than 50 members present at the AGM with Peter Whewell in the Chair. Krys Gaffney continued as Secretary with Nicola Loose as Treasurer.The Chair's report began "Commiserations to all Moorside members on having to put up with a catastrophic growing season in 2012:- our peas beans and potatoes rotted in the ground, there was no poliination of our apple trees, our strawberries were soggy, we had floods and a deluge of slugs and snails that ate anything that managed to survive the cold and wet. Lets hope for better in 2013". The Chairman gave a short talk and slide show entitled "from individualism towards community" describing the history of Moorside and the ways in which a sense of community had been created by the various Moorside projects over the past decade. Despite the weather the Moorside Show attracted over 220 exhibits from 30 members. The Association had purchased a new marquee and three gazebos for future shows at a cost of £200. The Head of Parks and Leisure had agreed that the best solution for flooding onto Moorside would be to dig a drainage ditch all the way round our north and east borders. However there was still uncertainty about how this would connect to the main sewer under Fenham Hall Drive. The rent remained at £55 per full plot. Steve McDonnell would be filming Moorside life for the National Archive during 2013.

  In February the combined greenhouse/shed for the less able plot was delivered by Key Enterprises.

  In March the Freemen turned down Moorside's request for planning permission for a third hut. The Freemen would not allow a drainage ditch to be created outside Moorside's north border but would allow the council to dig out the northeast culvert. In June the waiting list stood at 20.

  In September the Moorside Show had 245 exhibits from 30 members. At the City Show Moorside were second best large site for the second year running and Peter and Liz Whewell won the Best Plot without Glass for the second year. Stan and Audrey Tortoise won the City Master Gardener Vase. In November it was agreed that the main trading base be moved to the Community Hut, which would be fitted out with suitable racking to display items. The Allotment Officer agreed to provide Moorside with two new notice-boards. Montse Ferres was working on a Moorside calendar for 2014.

  In December it was agreed that Age-UK Newcastle would tenant the less able plot. The Council had agreed to dig out our north-east culvert but had no money to do this in the current financial year. Dave Eason had retired from the plant scheme, to be succeeded by Sue Johnson. It was agreed that the scheme would put up greenhouses on plot 86 for use next year.

2014 The AGM was attended by 56 members and Peter Whewell was in the Chair. The Chair reported that "The prolonged cold weather in April took a toll on our bees and was a warning not to plant out seedlings and potatoes too early. however the remainder of the summer saw vegetables, fruit and flowers flourish and it was a vintage year for beans, marrows and pumpkins. As a result our Moorside Show had more entries than ever". It was noted that the council had given a years notice that their rents would increase by 30% in 2015. The Moorside rent was kept at £55 per full plot but would probably need to go to £70 in 2015 to cover the increase in council rates. Moorside was to receive 50 fruit trees from Greening Wingrove. It was agreed that the committee would cost out improvements to our water supply. 

  In February it was noted that the waiting list stood at 29. In July in the City Allotment competition Stan and Audrey Tortoise won first prize for Best Plot with glass and Peter and Liz Whewell won first prize for Best plot without Glass. Pat Francis took over as Show Secretary from Peter Whewell. A Mantis rotovator was purchased for member's use. In September at the Moorside Show 39 members entered exhibits and at the City Show, Stan and Audrey Tortoise were again the winners of the Master Gardener Vase.

  In October the editorship of the successful Moorside Newsletter was taken over jointly by Susan Pownall and Sue Johnson and the 7th of the current series was published. It was agreed that a subcommittee would produce a new Moorside Constitution and Rules to bring the documents up to date with council cultivation and building standards regulations and to clarify some grey areas. The major part of the revision was carried out by the Treasurer, Nicola Francis, so that with her legal background a highly professional 2015 version was created for presentation to the 2015 AGM. The subcommittee would also create a new tenancy agreement for new members.

2015 There were 41 members at the AGM and Peter Whewell was in the Chair. The AGM was preceded by a brief film representing an overview of Moorside life by Steve McDonnell. The Chair noted "This was another good year for gardening. The summer was warm but there was sufficient rain to mean that watering was only needed intermittently. Our crops thrived and there was plenty of produce at the Moorside Show. We then had a remarkably warm autumn with dahlias, chrysanthemums and nasturtiums in flower until the first serious frost in mid-December". The rent was duly raised to £70 per full plot. The new Moorside Constitution and Rules 2015 was unanimously agreed with one small correction.