A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

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1.1 The sample chosen for this Inquiry was a purposive one, consisting of 750 interviews in each of four Regions, North, Midlands, East and South-East (including London) and South, South-West and Wales. The Interviews were not distributed in proportion to the population of each Region, since this would have resulted in two regions having a sample too small to give reliable results.

The Interviews were to be divided within each Region as follows:-

1. 250 Allotment Holders
2. 250 Gardeners
3. 50 Women Allotment Holders

The Allotment Holders were chosen at random from the lists of Allotment Holders held by the Local Authorities or Allotment Association Secretaries, and visited at home or on their allotments.

In the case of gardeners, the Local Authorities were asked to indicate a number of streets in the town where the houses had gardens measuring at least 20’ x 40’. The investigator visited these streets and visited the houses at random.

Women allotment holders were taken whenever there was a number on the Local Authorities’ lists, but in all cases it was found impossible to complete the quota in the Region. Those obtained in this way did help, however, to provide a sufficient number of women allotment holders for their problems to be discussed separately.

1.2 The final representation of Allotment Holders and Gardeners in the sample was as follows:-

1. Allotment Holders 1267
2. Gardeners 1240
3. Both 475
TOTAL 2982

Of those who had gardens, 61 did not cultivate anything in them, and were, therefore, unable to reply to the remainder of the questionnaire. This reduces the total sample to 2921 from Question 10 onward.

1.3 This total was divided between the Regions as follows:-

1. Northern England 760
2. Midlands 649
3. London, East & S. East 784
4. South, S. West & Wales 728

1.4 The sample was divided into:-

1. Urban 2567
2. Rural 354

1.5 The Occupation of each person interviewed was asked, and these occupations were then gathered together in six main groups -

1. Unskilled Manual
This included labourers, Porters Garage Hands, Coal Heavers, Factory Hands, etc.
2. Skilled Manual
This included Electricians Mechanics, Carpenters, Drillers, Plumbers, Spinners, etc
3. Unskilled Clerical
This included lower grade Clerks, Store Keepers, Shop Assistants, Insurance men, and other non-manual Workers.
4. Skilled Clerical
This included Business Managers, Education Officers, Clergymen, Lecturers, Managing Clerks, Company Directors, etc.
5. Housewives These were all at home and not working. They were responsible for the garden or allotment concerned. 342
6. Retired and Unoccupied Mainly elderly men 324
7. Unclassified 30

1.6 The sex of the cultivators was recorded and on analysis is as follows:-

Men 2409
Women 501
Male Children (Under 16) 11
Female Children (Under 16) -

Among the women 183 cultivated allotments.

1.7 Family sizes were grouped in this way:-

Family Size 1 - 3 1405
Family Size 4 - 7 1416
Family Size 7 & Over 75
Unclassified 25

1.8 Fifty-two towns in England and Wales were visited during the course of the survey and a list, region by region, is given below:-

Region. North East & S. East
Newcastle Norwich
Sunderland Ipswich
Carlisle Chelmsford
Middlesborough Brighton
Darlington Watford
Liverpool Guildford
Manchester Horsham
Bolton London:-
Chester Ilford
Warrington Ealing
Leeds Lewisham
York Bromley
Sheffield Wandsworth
Midlands South, S. West & Wales
Chesterfield Cardiff
Lincoln Swansea
Birmingham Newport
Wolverhampton Hereford
Leicester Gloucester
Northampton Bristol
Derby Reading
Nottingham Portsmouth
Peterborough Swindon
Stoke Yeovil
Shrewsbury Taunton

The quota for each town varied between 60 interviews in the largest, and 40 in the smallest.

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