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Hop Picking in Kent.

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Hop Picking in Kent. From 1870 onwards many hop-pickers came to Kent for a great range of reasons. To begin, the hop fields needed a great many hop pickers because of the 'Golden Age' for hop growing in the 19th Century. In 1850, 50 000 acres of hops were cultivated. This is a twenty thousand acre increase from 1800. It again increased to its peak in 1878 to 71 789 acres; this is because the duty on hops was removed. This increase led to hop fields needing more pickers to come to Kent. Hops were grown in Kent for many reasons; the most important was that Kent had strong, well-drained and loamy soil, which was ideal for hops. The main reason hop pickers came to Kent was the attractions that were there; they wanted to escape from London. When hops were ripe in September they had to be collected within a couple of weeks. ...read more.


There was also the factor of money, they enjoyed themselves and they earn money, which was excellent because they did not earn much in London and were mostly poor. The families needed extra money for special luxuries for Christmas. They also thought it was a good idea to have a few extra shillings for items such as winter coats or to pay a surprise bill. Most families had the children picking hops as well because they needed more money. People had large families and on some occasions the man of the house was the only person earning money and hop picking was all the woman could find to do that would earn the family money. The children thought of it as a holiday because it was different and they enjoyed it. People came to Kent - the countryside - because it was good for their health. ...read more.


The station workers probably knew this was going on but turned a blind eye. On the train journey the train was packed full of young people and old people and pets that people could bring with them. When you got to your station in Kent the farmers wagon would be waiting. They would all get on the wagon and go to the farm. The improved transport encouraged more hoppers and helped the existing hoppers. The hoppers came to Kent because the hop farms were in great needed for a large labour force so the Londoners would come to Kent, but to encourage them to come to Kent you needed to offer them perks and incentives which were the money and the fun. To increase the amount of pickers there were eventually hopper trains that bought the hoppers to Kent more quickly. John Thompson - Hop Picking ...read more.

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