1940s-style allotment is king of the crop at RHS Chatsworth

Marketing manager, Lesley Ellerby, second right, and administrator, Lynn Hopkins from the School of Artisan Food, select some salad options from Rhubarb Farm's Martin Elliott and David Allison.
Marketing manager, Lesley Ellerby, second right, and administrator, Lynn Hopkins from the School of Artisan Food, select some salad options from Rhubarb Farm's Martin Elliott and David Allison.

A 1940s-style allotment is helping feed demonstrations by The School of Artisan Food at the first-ever RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.

The award-winning cookery school, based at Welbeck, near Worksop, approached its neighbours and supplier, Rhubarb Farm, to create the edible feature for the show at the 1,000-acre Chatsworth Estate, which opened to the public on Wednesday.

The allotment takes visitors back to a time of postwar austerity to show how tasty food can be grown and made on a budget.

On site was former miner Peter Brandham, 78, the last allotment-holder at the Langwith farm, who has been an invaluable source of information in creating the typical allotment of the area and time.

The 1940s allotment features crops that would have been used to feed families in the post-war era across allotments in ex-mining communities, as well as a shed and a hen coop complete with chickens.

Julie Byrne, managing director of The School of Artisan Food, said: “We wanted to show how you can still prepare delicious food using locally-sourced and seasonal produce on a tight budget with no compromise on taste.

“By working with our neighbours Rhubarb Farm, we are highlighting some of the traditional produce and skills that would have been used alongside more modern artisan food production techniques such as how to use flowers in food and drink.”

Chatsworth Flower Show is the latest addition to the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual calendar.

It was officially launched by Alan Titchmarsh and Mary Berry on Tuesday, when proceedings on the preview day were brought to a premature close by strong winds and heavy rain.

Braving the downpours to put the final touches on a floral arch across the River Derwent, celebrity gardener and television personality Mr Titchmarsh said he was delighted to be back in the area.

He said: “It’s immensely exciting, we come to the county fair every year and love the Derbyshire Dales, the folk of Derbyshire are friendly, it’s great for it to get its own RHS show.”

Up to 90,000 visitors are expected to attend the show - which runs until Sunday - although the weather for the event is forecast to be changeable throughout.