Land Settlement Association

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The Land Settlement Association was a UK Government scheme set up in 1934, with help from the charities Plunkett Foundation and Carnegie Trust, to re-settle unemployed workers from depressed industrial areas of Britain,[1] particularly from North-East England and Wales. Between 1934 and 1939 1,100 small-holdings were established within 26 settlements.[2][3][4]

LSA cottage at The Abingtons

Settlements were set up in rural areas where each successful applicant’s family would be given a small-holding of approximately5 acres (0.020 km2), livestock and a newly built cottage. Small-holdings were grouped in communities which were expected to run agricultural production as cooperative market gardens, with materials bought and produce sold exclusively through the Association. There was some rigidity to the design of the estates; at Low Fulney, in an area with a strong horticultural basis to local smallholdings (due to the grade 1 land there), the usual (for the LSA) small wooden piggery building with concrete pig-run was nonetheless provided per tenant. This wasn't really appropriate to the likely use of the holding, and no tenant at Fulney used the piggery building, to breed pigs - the piggeries there were used for general storage. Applicants were vetted, and in the early days (up to the end of the war) given agricultural training, before being assigned a property. A difficulty was that the association's selling outfit - effectively a state marketing board, run from Cromwell Road, London - would send all the tenants' produce to one vendor of that produce at one of the national markets. In consequence, produce often could not be sold, and sometimes would be ploughed-in adjacent to the packing house of the source estate, because that vendor had told Cromwell Road that it could take no more, say, tomatoes. Some LSA estates such as Low Fulney or Selsey, were in areas where there were local lorry depots that could be easily used to despatch modest volumes of produce to any trader at the large markets. The frustration at the gross inefficiency of the LSA's state marketing board meant that some tenants would, in breach of their tenancy agreement, take boxes of their produce hidden under blankets in the back of their shooting brakes, to such depots. The tenant had only to choose his trader and market, mark it on the boxes and leave them on the appropriate pallet, telephone the next day to see what price had been achieved and whether that trader could sell more at that price, and bank the resulting cheque. Because the LSA's marketing board had rigid arrangements to always send the same produce to the same trader, and did not flex in this way, it could not compete, in spite of the economies of scale that should have arisen from having its single packhouse per estate, and a national lorry contract with, latterly, "Parkers". The LSA's local management responded on some estates by mounting occasional checkpoints on the exit from the estate, to inspect tenants' cars and ensure that no produce was being sold outwith the LSA; the manager at the Low Fulney estate, Mr Baker, adopted this practice. [1]

The LSA did try to ensure that incoming tenants paid a fair price for second-hand glasshouses and other equipment left behind by the outgoing tenant; due to the relatively small sizes of the holdings, most tenants on most estates would put up some glass/plastic. The houses varied by estate but were often small three-bedroom two-story detached chalets, with sloping ceilings in the small upstairs rooms. Some estates had slightly larger homes.

The allocation of settlements to the unemployed was suspended at the outbreak of the Second World War through the necessity of increasing food production; favour was given to those already with horticultural skills.[5] After the war the Association was incorporated within a County Council scheme for statutory provision of smallholdings designed as a first step for those going into agricultural production.[6] The scheme was wound-up in 1983 and the properties privatised.[1] The residual assets of the scheme were constituted as the LSA Charitable Trust,[7] for the benefit of former tenants and to promote horticultural education.[8]


Land Settlement Association settlements included:


  1. ^ a b c "Land Settlement Association", University of Reading. Retrieved 18 August 2011
  2. ^ "The Land Settlement Association (LSA) The return of the unemployed to the land. 1934 – 1939", Dr Peter Clarke. Retrieved 18 August 2011
  3. ^ "Land Settlement Association", Northampton Square. Retrieved 18 August 2011
  4. ^ Clarke, Peter; "The Land Settlement Association returned nearly 1,000 unemployed men to the land in the 1930s", Northampton Square, 29 July 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011
  5. ^ "Land Settlement Association. Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment" (All Commons debates on 23 Nov 1939); Retrieved 18 August 2011
  6. ^ a b "Land Settlement Association", (Dr Peter Clarke). Retrieved 18 August 2011
  7. ^ "LSA Charitable Trust website. Retrieved 28 December 2012
  8. ^ "LSA Charitable Trust (Guidance Notes)" Grants for Horticulturists. Retrieved 29 June 2012
  9. ^ "The Land Settlement Association and Little Park", Abbots Ann and Little Ann web site. Retrieved 18 August 2011
  10. ^ "Boverton Land Settlement scheme", TUC History Online. Retrieved 18 August 2011
  11. ^ a b c "Land Settlement Association", Cumbria County Council - Archives. Retrieved 18 August 2011
  12. ^ "Crofton", Retrieved 18 August 2011
  13. ^ Burdett, Anna; "Whatever Happened to Cumbriam Strawberries", The Cumberland News 21 July 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2011
  14. ^ Walded, R. (1999); Streets Ahead: An Illustrated Guide to the Street Names of Dunstable; pp. 266–268, 275, 282; The Book Castle; ISBN 1-871199-59-X
  15. ^ "Fen Drayton Former Land Settlement Association Estate SPD", South Cambridgeshire District Council. Retrieved 18 August 2011
  16. ^ "New zero-carbon homes vision for village settlement", Cambridge News 18 October 2010. Retrieved 18 August 2011
  17. ^ Bercaw, Louise Oldham; "Bibliography on Land Utilization 1918-36"; p1011
  18. ^ "The Harrowby Land Settlement", Domesday Reloaded, BBC. Retrieved 18 August 2011
  19. ^ "Thornholme Grange", National Monuments Record. English Heritage. Retrieved 18 August 2011
  20. ^ Sloane, Rachel; "Newbourne", BBC: Suffolk, 11 June 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2011
  21. ^ "A History of the County of Gloucester vol.12 Newent and May Hill", British Association for Local History: "The Land Settlement Association also built 57 chalet bungalows from 1937 on an estate at The Scarr, Newent, most of which retain their distinctive appearance". Retrieved 18 August 2011
  22. ^ "Sidlesham, West Sussex", Kelly's Directory 1938: "During 1935, 800 acres of land were acquired by the Land Settlement Association Ltd. To provide smallholdings for men from the distressed areas of Northumberland & Durham". Retrieved 18 August 2011
  23. ^ "Great and Little Abington", British History Online, para 5: "In Great Abington from the 1930s the Land Settlement Association built c. 45 houses to a standard design along roads laid out across the middle of the parish". Retrieved 18 August 2011
  24. ^ "Chawston", Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden Parish, Community Web Site. Retrieved 18 August 2011