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Since 1903 returns have been annually obtained by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries (in connection with the Agricultural Returns) of the number of holdings in each of four groups, viz :—
(1) Above 1 acre and not exceeding 5 acres.
Prior to 1903 returns of this nature were collected occasionally, the latest being in 1895. The statistics then obtained are readily comparable with later returns, but the scope of the preceding return in 1890 was different, and the figures for the first group of holdings above-mentioned included holdings of precisely one acre. Consequently an exact comparison with 1890 is not possible. In 1895, however, enquiries were made to ascertain the number of holdings of precisely one acre in extent at that date; and the number in Great Britain was found to be 16,709. To enable the figures of 1890 to be used in the following tables for comparison, it has been assumed that the proportion of holdings of precisely one acre to the number of those not exceeding 5 acres was in 1890 the same as in 1895. The return of 1890 being confined to allotments and small holdings, did not include holdings exceeding 50 acres.
It is necessary to remember that the area of a holding for the purposes of these returns does not include any mountain or heath land used for grazing purposes which may be attached to the farm. be attached to the farm. In many parts of the country, and particularly in Scotland, the size of the holdings would be materially increased if these "rough grazings" were reckoned in the farm acreage.
From 1890 to 1895 the number of holdings of over 1 and not over 5 acres appears to have declined from 126,398 to 117,968, and those of 5 to 50 acres from 236,585 to 235,481. The total reduction in the number of "small holdings' would therefore be 9,534 or 2.6 per cent. A comparison of the figures for all classes of holdings in 1895 and 1906 respectively gives the following result :
During this period the total area of cultivated land in Great Britain declined by 310,758 acres or 10 per cent., and the total number of holdings by 9,273 or 1.8 per cent. The proportion of holdings of each class to the total number in 1895 and 1906 respectively, was as follows:
Whereas, therefore, "small holdings" of 50 acres and less constituted 68 per cent. of the total number of holdings in 1895, they were in 1906 just 67 per cent.
Board of Agriculture and Fisheries,
20th March, 1907.
1500 Wt 30231 3/07 D & S 8 27687
TABLE I.-Number of Holdings above 1 acre and not exceeding 5 acres, and above 5 acres and not exceeding 50 acres, respectively, in each County and Division of Great Britain in 1890, 1895, 1903 and 1906.
* Holdings of exactly one acre were included in the returns collected in 1890 which, for the purpose of comparison, have been corrected on the assumption that the proportion of such holdings to the total number in the 1-5-acre group was the same in 1890 as it was ascertained to be in 1895.
+ Included in Kent, Middlesex and Surrey in 1890.
Holdings of exactly one acre were included in the returns collected in 1890 which, for the purpose of comparison, have been corrected on the assumption that the proportion of such holdings to the total number in the 1-5-acre group was the same in 1890 as it was ascertained to be in 1895.
TABLE II.-Number of Holdings above 50 and not exceeding 300 acres, and above 300 acres, respectively, in each County and Division of Great Britain in 1895, 1903, and 1906.