Black Country Allotment Society

Black Country Allotment Society is a commissioned publication by Susie Parr, author of the critically acclaimed Story of Swimming.  Susie writes about the lives and experiences of plot holders from eight allotments set in the heart of Sandwell, using the wider Black Country as context.  Her closely observed stories are a celebration of community, resourcefulness and ingenuity.

In nine essays, Susie explores the allotment sites, introducing us to their history, people and quirky differences.  Focused on the everyday, she traces the seasonal changes, the relationship between allotment people, plants, bees and animals and the cycle of allotment activities, from sowing to reaping. The project explores the hidden, but thriving, allotment society at the heart of the striking post-industrial landscape of the Black Country where people unite across cultural and generational barriers in an endeavour to make their plots beautiful, orderly and productive, as the seasons pass and the years roll by.

Multistory also commissioned local film-maker, Chris Keenan, to make Bee Movies, a film that tells the story of Black Country beekeepers, a community that is growing rapidly as more people become fascinated by bees and try out beekeeping for themselves. The nine essays are presented in a designed box together with a series of postcards, two maps, a commemorative allotment society pencil, plant markers, wildflower seeds and the Bee Movies DVD.

The publication was launched at the town hall in October 2014 was gifted to all of the allotment holders and beekeepers who took part in the project.

News We are delighted that Susie Parr’s specially commissioned publication was Highly Commended at the British Book Design & Production Awards 2015 (Self Published category). Find out more here. 

Susie Parr is a writer and researcher, and an amateur beekeeper.  Her previous books include:  The Story of Swimming, The Non-Conformists and Talking about Aphasia.