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Past Members

Below are some of the hundreds of members who have worked the allotments:

 

My Grandad

 

 

September 11, 2017

Kath Pye

George Pye (1908-1996), a stevedore of Millwall, with his prize winning potatoes. 

 

Kindly written by Debbie Levett, Secetary 
Friends of Island History Trust and taken from a transcript of an interview with her grandfather in 1986.


George had an allotment on the Mudchute, which he inherited from his father-in-law, Mr Muldoon. At this allotments' society Show in the mid - 1960s, George ‘cleared the board' in all six classes of potato, thus fulfilling a cherished ambition. 

 

He was a very proud man, my Dad is third generation named George. My Daughter and Nephew 5th generation islanders. George never swore in front of us, or in front of ladies. He said only serving soldiers had the right to swear, with what they witnessed, so I know all his 'Gawd Blimeys' were the polite version. My Grandad was and still is an inspiration.

 

Here follows a Transcript of a story told by George Pye Senior (18/7/1986).

 

Backgrond: in 1939 Germany invaded Poland and although mobilisation took place there was some six months of a 'Phoney war' before war was declared on the invasion of Cechoslavica in the Autum. This story relates to this phoney war period.

 

George:

Well I remember the start of the war, because I was up on the allotments, up the Mudchute with my friend. There had been a lot of talk of war, I recall Chamberlain waiving bits of paper about but we didn't really expect it to start! We were up there one Sunday morning, as we always went to get the weeks supply in.

 

By that time there was guns on the Mudchute, the Royal Artillery Company, the Specials, they had there guns up there. Anyhow, we got busy getting our stuff ready to go down, and it was 11 o'clock, when all of a sudden the sirens went off.

 

'Gawd blimey!' You had never seen anything like it in your life. Out come the squaddies, and round came the guns and right over our heads. 'Gawd blimey!' I thought to myself, it's off here. So I'm off with the bunk ain't I. So my mate and I start running don't we, we were well exposed there right underneath the guns, we start galloping towards the fence near farm road, to jump over it and head home, (Hesperus Crescent).

 

Anyhow my little mate, he said, 'hold it, I'm not going to leave my bleeding stuff there. Them squaddies might nick it! Our bags of stuff are still on the allotment, our weeks supply and the flowers.' 

 

I said, 'them bleeding bombers will be over in a minute.'

 

So back we have to go for our stuff don't we.

 

Tony, 'your vegetables and flowers?'

 

George, 'our, vegetables and flowers.'

 

We are ambling along the fence and we keep looking behind expecting the bombers to be soon overhead. Anyhow, we got to the fence and it's about three times higher than my mate, so I had to bunk him up and chuck the sacks over. Well I'm sweating now and when I get over the fence he's waiting for me so we take our gear.

 

We are running round and have to go through Millwall Park. Well the old man, (his Dad) is over there, a warden at the time.

 

'There,' he said, 'you had better pop in there',(under the arches). So we left our gear with him and I said I will have to go and see where Kath and the kids are. So I left him to see how Kath was. 

 

I am well sweating ain't I, time I get home. And anyhow she's sitting there knitting.

 

'Gawd blimey!' I thought to myself.

 

Anyhow it all goes off, it's a false alarm.

 

I said to Kath, 'I will have to go over the road, I got a darts match over there, at the Builders.' (It used to be a pub on the corner).

 

So I went and had a pint.

 

'Gawd Blimey!' I am still sweating now thinking about it!