Mattock Road Allotments lie on the top of a bed of silt compounded by the Laver over the course of seven centuries. Reclaimed from the river when the Royal Park was built in 1834, the allotments were declared 'for thee goode of the peoples of Lavers Towne'* with the intent that every family who owned less land than it took to grow a row of potatoes, peas and cabbages would be entitled to one plot thirty yards by ten.
In practice, the allotments were quickly monopolised by the less than scrupulous Mr. Fairbright and his gang of thugs, who insisted upon payment of a 'squash tax'. When it was pointed out, by a Mr. Alfred Brown of Cherry Gardens, that Englishmen didn't grow foreign vegetables like squashes, Mr. Fairbright's men stomped his produce into the ground.
This goes some way toward explaining the preponderance of the word 'turnip' in later road names.
*a motto which still hangs over the wrought-iron gates
Illustration from Laverstone for Laymen (unpublished)