Scottish Allotment and Garden Society - SAGS

Scope and Content

  • Constitutional Records, 1946-1996;
  • Annual Reports, 1935-1999;
  • Conference Report and Annual General Meeting, 1947-1976;
  • Minutes, 1952-2005;
  • Correspondences, 1946-2000;
  • Allotments Statistics, 1949-1953;
  • Financial Records, 1978-1999;
  • Publications, 2007-2015.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Scottish National Union of Allotment Holders (SNUAH) was instituted on the 15th December 1917. Its aim was to pressure councils to provide allotment gardens for the unemployed and working poor in urban areas. In a pre-welfare society, an unemployed family's ability to grow vegetables could mean the difference between a healthy life and malnutrition. Rationing and the "Dig for Victory" campaign in the Second World War greatly enhanced the importance of growing your own food. All classes, not just the unemployed, discovered the value of allotments.

In 1946 the Scottish Allotments and Garden Society [SAGS] was constituted, incorporating SNUAH and the Scottish Gardens and Allotments Committee. In the post-war era the economic argument for allotments diminished, statutory protection was removed, and allotment sites were used for housing and commercial development. Available allotment plots in Scotland were drastically reduced from over 70,000 just after the War, to fewer than 7,000 by the end of the century. Enthusiasts who cared about the environment and wanted to grow their own food joined SAGS to campaign for the protection and regeneration of allotment sites.

SAGS offered a variety of services to gardeners, from supplying seeds to insuring sheds, green houses and huts, against fire. SAGS also provided four of the nine (later reduced to eight) members to the SASU Joint Committee. The Society was governed by an Executive Committee consisting of the President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary and fifteen other elected members. Archibald W Fisher was the Secretary and Treasurer to The Scottish National Union of Allotment Holders from 1917 until 1943, and Victor Webb inherited a number of Fisher's papers along with those of the Secretary, William McWilliam. Victor's contributions to SAGS Annual Conferences and Committee Minutes are well documented in the Annual Reports, including his resignation in 1954.

SAGS continues to this day and the primary objective of the Society remains "to protect sites, preserve skills in gardening… [and] promote the value of allotments."


The organisation of SAGS is still fully functioning and may continue to supply relevant material on an ad hoc basis to the collection.

ACCN 3833 and ACCN 3997 were gifted by Judy Wilkinson in 2014 and 2016, respectively.