Lettsom Allotments is a small allotment site in Camberwell, South London. There are 35 plots on the allotment, including an apiary and an orchard. The allotments are adjacent to Lettsom Gardens and share a common entrance on Grove Park. The whole site is owned by Southwark Council and both the allotments and the gardens occupy the site on a lease.
The allotments were created at the start of the 1980's as a replacement for a site on the Walworth Road redeveloped for housing by the council. The site was originally managed by the Camberwell Gardens Guild. The allotments are now under the management of the Lettsom Allotments Association, a charity created and run by members of the allotment.
The allotments have strong links with the local community. Dog Kennel Hill primary school is just across the road from the Lettsom Gardens gate on Grove Hill Road and the school has a plot on the allotment where the children can come and learn about horticulture. The Southwark Day Care Centre for Asylum Seekers also have a well-used plot where asylum seekers grow food for use at the local centre in Peckham.
The site is named after John Coakley Lettsom an 18th century scientist and physician who had a villa on Grove Park. Dr Lettsom was notable in several respects. He was a committed abolitionist, who freed the slaves he inherited on his family's plantations in the British Virgin Islands. He was also a keen horticulturalist and introduced the Mangel Wurzel to the British Isles. Indeed his promotional activities on behalf of this underrated root were so effective that some seeds from his collection ended up in George Washington's garden.
There is a waiting list for plots and applications are welcome. Note that, as with all allotments, demand for plots exceeds supply so waiting times are long. To apply for a plot, contact the management committee.