One of the last remaining smallholdings allocated to servicemen after World War I is disappearing from Wallington following the death of a nurseryman.
Bill Lovett, 87, a regular on Surrey Street Market in Croydon, died of emphysema last month after living and working on a four-acre plot at Little Woodcote estate for more than 50 years. The site was turned into “homes for heroes” by Surrey County Council to provide employment for returning soldiers during the depression of the 1930s.
Vivien Lovett, Bill’s daughter, said there were now only thought to be four smallholdings still operating at Little Woodcote.
A land agent has confirmed that her father’s nursery and house, known as Telegraph Track, is being sold to private investors.
Mrs Lovett, an author and public speaker, said: “In my childhood it became a wonderful children’s playground, with hardly a car to hinder our activities, only the pounding of farming machinery upon the concrete track. You hardly saw a soul, but they are plentiful now as people seek the sanctuary of these quiet green spaces and take their Sunday countryside walk. Sadly, with huge conglomerates dictating the marketplace, these smallholding are in decline, with only a handful of ‘working holdings’ left.
“Many have been sold off by the council into private hands.”
Mrs Lovett is now writing a history of the Little Woodcote estate, which was founded in the 1920s.
She is particularly keen to acquire photographs and information about the youth club, near Old lodge farm, which burnt down.
Anyone who can help is asked to contact her on 020 8655 8581.