Raspberry Picking at Cottingley Allotments

Keighley News August 7th 1926 Page 5.

There is at least one industry in the Bradford district which is flourishing vigorously and where overtime is at present the rule. This has its headquarters on the pleasant slope which runs for half a mile or so from Cottingley Church to Sandy Lane and includes some two hundred acres of as fine raspberry gardens as are to be found in the country.
This strip of land was not always the fruitful place it is today. Until about sixty or seventy years ago it was rough moorland, and there still lives at Cottingley one of the pioneer band of young men who dug up the heather, removed the boulders, and made ready the barren moorland for cultivation. Mr Tom White, who is now ninety years of age, has lived to see many bumper crops of raspberries ripen where once the heather grew.
The gardens are divided into allotments of half or a quarter of an acre in extent, and are given up almost exclusively to raspberry growing, for which both the soil and the situation are particularly suitable, for there is nowhere in the district where raspberries of the same size and flavour can be produced. So amply does the soil repay the cultivators that several gain a comfortable livelihood from the raspberry crop alone. Such cultivators, of course, have more than one section, and their time is fully occupied for the greater part of the year.
The picking season lasts from a month to six weeks, and is now at its height. While the fruit is ripening daily the residents in Cottingley turn out en masse into the gardens. Almost all the women in the village spend the hours which can be spared from baking, washing and other household duties in the gardens, and the problem of what to do with the school children during the holidays does not exist at Cottingley. The youngsters go raspberry picking with enthusiasm and earn their extra money like their elders. At the present time several hundreds are thus engaged.
There is never any difficulty about finding a market for the Cottingley crop. Eager purchasers come to the gardens and wait literally in queues, so that there is little fruit left over for the markets. Every evening at this season lines of motor-cars, vans, butchers carts, etc., are drawn up outside the gardens, while their occupants wait patiently with baskets, pails, pans, and all kinds of other vessels, for their share of the crop. A flat rat is fixed at the beginning of the season, this year it is 10 pence and the price does not vary throughout the season.

The raspberries were sold to the Smith's local jam factory

A newspaper article (Guardian Chronicle) of 1965 was written when the Raspberry Gardens were sold.
It states that the land was held in trust for the relations of the late E. A. Briggs and administered by Armitage and Norton, the Bradford chartered accountants. The land was rented first from Mr Ferrand and later from Mr. Briggs by the allotment holders.
The land was originally owned by the Ferrand family as part of their St.Ives estate. The late Mr. Briggs who bought the land, also bought the land on which stands the Cottingley Manor school. Arthur Harry died in 1920 and Arthur Edward died in 1928.
Fred Fielding remembered the gardens being there in about 1900 so it would appear that they were first rented out in the late 1800's.

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