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Allotment Holder's Enemies

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Allotment Holder's Enemies

An instructional film offering tips on how to get rid of greenfly, caterpillars, snails, slugs, moths and sparrows.

Advert 1918 5 mins

Overview

Made as a promotional film for The Smallholder magazine, in which, we are assured, we can find much more detailed articles expanding on its theme of getting rid of assorted pests, this film’s main attraction is its technically impressive (for the time) close-up photography of the pests in question. Much of the advice still seems valid, although the phrasing is decidedly of its time (“A thorough rogue, which destroys your first early peas and seedling lettuces without even saying ‘thank you’.”)

Still published today as “the leading monthly publication for the small producer and self-reliant household”, Smallholder began in 1910 and found a ready market during WWI-enforced austerity, alluded to by the opening admonition that “you can’t afford at the present time to grow crops for insects to consume” (the film premiered on 1 July, when the war still had four months left to run). This was the first of two films sponsored by Rito Fertiliser, made by the Charles Urban Company and scripted by the magazine’s then editor – the more upbeat sequel was The Allotment Holder’s Friends (1918).