HD video, 32 mins


‘Settlers in England’ is a peripheral social history of the Oxcroft Land Settlement near Bolsover, high on a hill in the North­East corner of Derbyshire. Between 1934 and 1939, the Land Settlement Association (LSA) established 1,100 smallholdings within 26 settlements across the country, the objective of which was to re-settle unemployed workers and their families (mainly miners at Oxcroft) and get them working and producing on the land. The Oxcroft settlement was comprised of 40 plots, each of which was made up of a semi­detached cottage and 5 acres of land, including a piggery and greenhouses.

The film examines ideas of food production, environment and community through the eyes of current residents, some of whom moved onto the estate at its inception in 1936 as the children of original settlers and have never left.

It takes its title from a book written by Fred Kitchen and published in 1947 about his time living as a tenant farmer and market gardener on the Oxcroft Estate.

Ian Nesbitt says this about the project:

“I was told about Oxcroft in passing during a conversation with a local historian. It immediately piqued my interest as a subject, even more so when I went to find out about it, and realised there was almost no information about the place in the public realm. As the project has developed, I have gathered accounts, testimonies, documents and photographs, creating a small archive that tells a story of hard lives, relative poverty, co-operation, and ultimately the nature of happiness. I believe the largely untold story of the wider LSA is an important one to shine a light on that has a resonance for us in these times of anxiety around food production, when we are so completely reliant on the whim of big supermarkets to provide for us, and retain so little connection with the land.”

The film can be watched in full here