Nearly 80 years ago the Government funded an ‘experiment’ to re-settle unemployed miners, engineers and others from heavy industries in the ‘depressed’ coalfields onto agricultural smallholdings in England. This experiment was carried out by the Land Settlement Association. The first estate was established at Potton, in east Bedfordshire. Resettlement of the unemployed continued up to the outbreak of war in September 1939. By then the LSA held 11,063 acres allowing for 1,479 holdings, of which 1,100 were developed. Twenty six estates had been created. 3,809 people had been transferred but not all remained. About half of the 1,728 men transferred had given up. At the outbreak of war there were 853 smallholders in occupation, (408 as tenants and 448 as trainees). 692 families were at the estates including about 2,069 children.
But this was not the end of the LSA. It continued until 1983 to give men with agricultural experience the chance to get onto ‘the first rung of the farming ladder.’