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Dr Hannah Connelly
Wellcome Trust Research Bursary
I recently completed my PhD at the University of Glasgow on the history of allotment gardens in Glasgow, using archival research and oral history interviews to explore the role of the allotment within the city. I argued that allotments have developed as places of both individuality and community, a paradox that is needed for the health and well-being of plotholders, and concluded that allotments are not a rural escape but an integral part of Scottish cities providing greenspace for plotholders, communities, plants and animals in otherwise changing and developing urban environments.
Before my PhD I worked as a community archaeologist and field archaeologist. I was drawn to allotment research through running a community project on allotments in York called ‘Plotting the Past’. I graduated from Durham University with a BA in Archaeology and the University of Sheffield with an MA in Landscape Archaeology.
Research and Teaching Interests
I am currently working on a Wellcome Trust Research Bursary titled ‘A Place to Grow: Well-Being and Activism on Scottish Allotments, 1946-1970’. During the Second World War, the Scottish allotments movement had gained momentum as new plotholders took on the challenge to ‘Dig for Victory’ and the government’s promotion of allotments became a key strategy on the home-front to manage a food crisis. However, many wartime allotments were established on land already earmarked for development and a post-war housing crisis led to the swift closure of many sites. My research will develop my PhD work on campaigns by individual plotholders and the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society to save their sites, expanding from Glasgow to investigate protests that took place across Scotland. The creation and then closure of wartime allotments was a crisis for plotholders that offers a direct parallel to Scottish cities today; residents are encouraged to create community gardens – for outdoor exercise, fresh food and social cohesion - on land designated for developments that have
been stalled – but not permanently prevented - by economic recession. Although the health benefits of community gardens have been well documented, there has been little research on how their closure affects gardeners.
This is a part-time research project and in the remainder of my time, I am continuing my work in community outreach by leading Northlight Heritage’s project ‘War & Peas’. This project is based in Pollok Park and centres round the creation of a First World War demonstration plot, exploring themes of sustainability and healthy-eating.
- College of Arts, School of Humanities
- Library: Special Collections and Archive Services