There is nothing I can write which can sufficiently express the gratitude of the Covenantors for the recent generous donation by Alan and Rosina Brown of their extensive and painstakingly compiled collection of photographs of the estate chronicling its development over many years. The collection will not only be of interest but will also constitute a valuable resource for those who continue to research the development of the estate from its inception by the liberal Northern Allotments Society to date. Typically of Alan and Rosina their only concern is that their collection should be safely preserved and freely available to all. The Estate Committee has therefore undertaken to scan and exhibit the collection on this website.

At the AGM of 2016 it was agreed that an Estate Committee working group will support an environmentally important project on the Common Land which was conceived by Mark Robinson. I can do no better in explaining the project than set out the written proposal originally submitted by Mark:

One of many attractive features of the Estate always has been the ‘Common’ in the corner between Meadowfield Road and Painshawfield Road. This remains an important and much valued open space, accessible to all, particularly popular with those of us with dogs. However it is felt that more could be made of this space, making it even more attractive and accessible to all residents of the estate, eventually making it the focus of community based activities. At the same time it could be made more of from an environmental and ecological point of view. In particular a scheme to manage the common in order to restore it and turn it back into a traditional wild flower and hay meadow. In the days before the establishment of the Estate the common land formed part of the original Painshawfield farm and was maintained then as a meadow. The proposed scheme will, in time, turn the common back into a meadow, not just a grassy field but one that will be full of traditional meadow grasses and flowers. When fully established the meadow will certainly be more attractive than at the moment and it will also greatly improve the local environment for insects (particularly pollinating insects, which will be good news for all the local gardeners!) and birds and other wildlife. Because the common has not been maintained as a meadow, apart from regular grass cutting, for a very long time this is likely to be a gradual process that will take some years before the meadow can regain what will have been its former glory. However this gradual approach will mean that access to the common will not be affected or restricted any more than it is currently. The land will continue to remain open and available to all who currently use it. Indeed, in time the meadow should become an even more attractive space that still more residents of the estate will want to visit and use.

The Committee has been delighted in 2015 to appoint and welcome Ian Brown as the new Secretary to the Estate Committee. With rapidity, efficiency and authority Ian has rationalised the business of the committee and the marshalling and storage of data and files.

As documents you will find on this website evidence the work of the committee has varied greatly since 1895. In 1911 and 1986 the committee had to seek funds from the Covenantors and secure legal judgements to protect the integrity of the estate (the funds were of course forthcoming and the litigation successful). At other times the most important debates have been about controlling the number of rabbits freely roaming gardens (and some have claimed panthers) to the waiver of planning permission to allow for the construction of air raid shelters at times of war and potential belligerent bombing attack. It has thus been a great pleasure to have recently had little more difficult to do than to anticipate the re-establishment of the historic hay meadow and to consider how to best preserve the wonderful collection donated by Alan and Rosina Brown.