The role of the garden in the lives of Victorian workers is overlooked. Although mechanisation meant that in some places factories or housing had been jammed together on all the available land, space was not always at a premium in the countryside, in villages and in areas which were developing into the suburbs of nearby towns. Many workers had access to a scrap of land which they could cultivate, officially or unofficially. The philanthropic industrialists who provided decent quality accommodation for their workers usually made sure that there was a small garden. By the end of the 19th century, local councils were obliged to make some land available for allotments.