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More Hop Picking Pictures

September 14, 2013
by the gentle author

Celebrating Hop Picking Season and the opening of the new Truman’s Brewery today, it is my pleasure to publish more favourite Hop Picking Pictures selected from the archive of Tower Hamlets Community Housing. Hopping was hard work, yet it was an opportunity for the whole family to enjoy time together with plenty of high jinks, drinking and even the potential for romance.

Taken in September 1958 at Moat Farm, Five Oak Green, Kent. Sitting on the bin is Miss Whitby with Patrick Mahoney, young John Mahoney and Sheila Tarling (now Mahoney) – Sheila & Patrick were picking to save up for their engagement party in October

Maryann Lowry’s Nan, Maggie ,on the left  with her Great-Grandmother, Maryann, in the check shirt in the hop gardens, c.1910

Having a rest in hop gardens at Whitbread’s Farm, Beltring, Kent in 1966. In the back row are Mary Brownlow, Sean Locke, Linda Locke, Kate Milchard, Chris Locke & Margie Brownlow with Kevin Locke and Terry Locke in front.

Margie Brownlow & her Mum Kate Milchard at Whitbreads Farm in Beltring, Kent in 1967. These huts were two stories high. The children playing outside are – Timmy Kaylor, Chrissy Locke, Terry Locke, Sean Locke, Linda Locke & Kevin Locke.

Chris Locke, Sally Brownlow, Linda Brownlow, Kate Milchard, Margie Brownlow, Terry Locke & Mary Brownlow at Whitbread’s Farm, Beltring, Kent in 1962

Johnno Mahoney, Superintendant of the Caretakers on the Bancroft Estate in Stepney, driving the “Mahoney Special” at Five Oak Green in 1947

The Clarkson family in the hop gardens in Staplehurst.  Gladys Clarkson , Edith Clarkson, William Clarkson, Rose Clarkson & Henry Norris.

John Moore, Ross, Janet Ambler, Maureen Irish & Dennis Mortimer in 1950 at Luck’s Farm, East Peckham, Kent

Kate Fairclough, Mrs Callaghan, Mary Fairclough & Iris Fairclough at Moat Farm, Five Oak Green, Kent in 1972

A gang of Hoppers from Wapping outside the brick huts at Stilstead Farm, Tonbridge, Kent with Jim Tuck & John James in the back. In the middle row the first person on the left is unknown, but the others are Rose Tuck, holding Terry Tuck, Rose Tuck, Danny Tuck & Nell Jenkins. In the front are Alan Jenkins, Brian Tuck, Pat Tuck, Jean Tuck, Terry Taylor & Brian Taylor.

Nanny Barnes, Harriet Hefflin, “Minie” Mahoney & Patsy Mahoney at Ploggs Hall Farm

In the Hop Gardens at Jack Thompsett’s Farm at Fowl Hall, near Paddock Wood in Kent in the late forties. Alfie Raines, Edie Cooper, Margie Gorst & Lizzie Raines

The Day family from Kirks Place, Limehouse, at Highwoods Farm in Collier St, Kent in the fifties

Annie Smith, Bill Daniels, Pearl Brown & Nell Daniels waiting for the measurer in the Hop Garden at Hoathley’s Farm, Hook Green, Kent

On the common outside the huts at at Hoathley’s Farm, Hook Green, Kent – you can see the oasthouses in the distance. Rita Daniels, Colleen Brown, Maureen Brown, Marie Brown, Billy Daniels, Gerald Brown & Teddy Hart , with Sylvie Mason & Pearlie Brown standing.

The Outram family from Arbour Sq outside their huts at Hubbles Farm, Hunton, Kent. Unusually these were detached huts but, like all the others, they made of corrugated tin and all had one small window – simply basic rooms, roughly eleven feet square

Janis Randall being held by her mother Joyce Lee andalongside her is her father, Alfred Lee in a hop garden, near Faversham in September 1950

David & Vivian Lee sitting on a log on the common outside Nissen huts used to house hop pickers

Gerald Brown, Billy Daniels & Dennis Woodham in the hop gardens at Gatehouse Farm near Brenchley, Kent, in the fifties

Nelly Jones from St Paul’s Way with Eileen Mahoney, and in the background is Eileen’s mum, “Minie” Mahoney. Taken in the fifties in the Hop Gardens at Ploggs Hall Farm, between Paddock Wood and Five Oak Green.

At Jack Thompsett’s Farm at Fowl Hall, near Paddock Wood in Kent

Ploggs Hall Farm Ladies Football Team. Back Row – Fred Archer, Lil Callaghan, Harriet Jones, Unknown, Unknown, Nanny Barnes, Liz Weeks, Harriet Hefflin, Johnno Mahoney.  Front Row – Doris Hurst Eileen Mahoney & Nellie Jones

John Moore, Ross, Janet Ambler, Maureen Irish & Dennis Mortimer in 1950 at Luck’s Farm, East Peckham, Kent

The Outram and Pyburn families outside a Kent pub in 1957, showing clockwise Kitty Tyrrell, Mary Pyburn, Charlie Protheroe, Rene Protheroe, Wag Outram, Derek Protheroe in the pram, Annie Lazel, Tom Pyburn, Bill Dignum & Nancy Wright.

You can download hop picking booklets published by Tower Hamlets Community Housing

Readers are invited to the opening of the New Truman’s Brewery, 2-3 Stour Rd, Hackney Wick, E2 2NT, today Saturday 14th September 2pm – 10pm with Opening Ceremony at 4pm

You may also like to take a look at

Hop Picking Pictures

Cockney Beanos

33 Responses leave one →
  1. Ruth Slavid permalink
    September 14, 2013

    I went hop picking in the late 1970s as a student, in Goudhurst. It was very different, with most of the work done by students and by gypsies. But there was at least one elderly lady working there who had been one of the East End hop pickers. I remember her reminiscing about what nice boys the Krays had been! The gypsies were always in trouble for starting late. They were meant to start at 7am but since they had no watches they had to wait until the radio said it was seven. There was a horse fair in Horsmonden while we were picking.
    The money wasn’t bad for students, and after the picking finished we went on to apple packing. But it cost me two pairs of jeans, since I could never get the smell of hops out. We had spent all our time indoors, in the loading sheds. Nothing as bucolic as working in the fields.

  2. Libby Hall permalink
    September 14, 2013

    What a marvellous photograph that last one is!

    We had friends who did house clearances and had a second-hand shop. By the late 60s had made a great deal of money. They had fancy holidays abroad – but what the wife really longed for was to go hop picking again – so finally they did go hop picking again, and our friend said she enjoyed it far more than any of their expensive holidays to Mediterranean sunshine.

  3. Annie permalink
    September 14, 2013

    More brilliance. I would love to read an entry about life as a hop picker – surely there are plenty still surviving – because it looks such a happy time. My mother (brought up in Peckham) regarded hop-pickers from London as very low forms indeed. But it must have been such a relief from London in the summer heat. Pubs look fun too. Any chance, dear Author?

  4. Bee permalink
    September 14, 2013

    My husband, Harry PARIS and his father, George PARIS, used to take Poplar hop-pickers to the Kent fields in their lorry.


  5. September 14, 2013

    Lovely pictures, as a child I used to go with my mother hop picking, good happy days to remember, the farm was called Cherry Garden Farm, in a village called Rolvenden, during the year my father who worked on the farm would string the hop garden and look after the young plants, so wish my parents could see these pictures.


  6. Jacqueline permalink
    September 14, 2013

    They all look so happy, although in those times people did not have much it really did not matter. No wonder people call them ‘the good old days’.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Cherub permalink
    September 15, 2013

    Isn’t it lovely to see families enjoying themselves. We take too much for granted now. My husband is an East End boy but his roots on his father’s side are in Kent and he spent many holidays there at his grandfather’s. Thank you for this wonderful pictorial record of happy days. Up here in Scotland it was all about potato picking and “going to the berries” – picking raspberries at Blairgowrie in beautiful Perthshire.

  8. john cooper permalink
    September 15, 2013

    great picts i have lots of hoppicking i would love to had on here

  9. may mumford (nee stevenson) permalink
    September 17, 2013

    We went to Goudhurst in the 1950s I thought it was terrible the entire family went filled the lorry up with everything. Aunts uncles cousins, grandparents everyone and everything.
    Hated the time off school also..

  10. laura tester permalink
    September 17, 2013

    reminds me of what good times we kids had in the late 40’s on the fields , we missed them so much with the family , canning town lee’s……. we left for aust in the early 50’s….missed them so much and not understanding why they never had hop fields here ,

  11. Grace Jones permalink
    November 18, 2013

    I went to Paddockwood Bell common,from the age of 6 months old.Met my husband down there, so sorry it all came to an end.We have been married 61 years now we still talk about it. love it,Grace Jones.

  12. Billy Keefe permalink
    January 28, 2014

    I remember these times well and I also remember Kevin and the Locke family from the east end and St Mary’s and St Michael’s School and St Bernards.Happy times indeed all the best to whoever remembers me and brother Mick and sister Christine.

  13. Richard manser permalink
    February 28, 2014

    I can also remember going hop picking with my mother at Cherry Garden Farm at Rolvenden and I also remember Alan Johns , I went to school with his brother Ken and knew his mum and dad. Great times we all miss them.

  14. Angus Campbell permalink
    April 19, 2014

    Fascinating set of photos and all the more interesting for me as I have recently taken ownership of some of the land that was on the Ploggs Hall Farm. I have some hopper huts and a cookhouse still standing on the farm but they won’t be around for ever. They have suffered due to the weather over the years and are getting to the stage where they might be safer if knocked down.
    In one of the huts, I have graffiti from members of the Mahoney family and, for many years, in the cookhouse it was possible to read ‘Minnie the Moucher’ chalked on the fireplaces.
    I would love to be able to get in contact with some of the families that stayed in my huts, especially the Mahoneys, to find out more of what was there.
    Editor – if there is interest in my post, please pass on my email address.

  15. Eric Ryder permalink
    July 22, 2014

    Angus Campbell,
    Hi Angus, we stayed in your hoppers huts from when they were built, on a trip to Ploggs Hall in Sep 2012 I took the liberty of finding a way to take some picks. I saw that the cookhouse made a good chicken run.
    We had two huts that were the first two on the left as you came through the gate, I have a picture of my mother and two sisters outside the first hut. I can send you the pics if you wish.
    Eric Ryder.

  16. marion bloomfield permalink
    November 17, 2014

    Great times down hopping Forge Gate Farm, East Peckham. Uncles, Aunts, Cousins.
    An old hopping song.
    Some say hoppings lousy
    I don’t believe its true
    We only go down hopping to earn a bob or two
    with an e i o, e i o, e i, ei, o.

  17. Kate Burns permalink
    April 18, 2015

    Ploggs Hall is our proud family home (has been since 2008). We would love any history/pictures/stories you have from your relatives. 😉

  18. Dan Bradshaw permalink
    May 9, 2015

    Not only do these pictures provide a wonderful glimpse into a simpler and undoubtedly happier time, on a personal level they also contain some previously unseen pictures of family members.

    And for both reasons I would like to thank you for on sharing them.

  19. David Milchard permalink
    June 6, 2015

    Remember many wonderful childhood days at Paddock wood during 1950’s & early 1960’s.
    My family names were Milchard, Gardner and Ennis.

  20. Pip Field permalink
    September 13, 2015

    From all the responses you’ve received, I think you can see how your work has really touched peoples lives,bringing back memories but just as importantly sharing this part of our social history for future generations ,which could so easily have been lost along the way. Thank You.

  21. John James permalink
    October 3, 2015

    Very happy memories of setting off early sept mornings in the back of smiths removal lorries scrabbling to climb over the cab in the back of lorry, remember we used to dissapear until we were hungry,also remember a sweet van visiting field around lunch time, women boiling kettles on primus stoves Etc, Happy Days.

  22. June 20, 2016

    I grow hops and am planning to start a ‘Hopping Memories’ section on my website. I found your site today and wondered if anyone would like to send me their memories they would like to add. All memories and photos would of course be credited to the persons concerned.

    This section is really to make it interesting for people to read and share with those who have been or may never have worked in hops. This end I am gathering memories from local country folk who have worked with hops all their lives.

    Kind regards,

  23. Pat Moore nee Harris permalink
    August 30, 2016

    Anyone remember going hop picking to Bull Farm in Cranbrook Kent

  24. September 22, 2016

    I have a coured framed picture of hop picking in Kent. painters name on boyyom of picture . my father John Francis Moon who sold your beer in our Store my father bought this picture in 1937 when amongst others he was invited down to your farm, I would like to know its value now please..

  25. Eva Miller permalink
    October 8, 2016

    Myself & mum ,dad, brothers sisters went to bull farm hoppicking ,1950s I think

  26. Julie Tyndall permalink
    October 9, 2017

    Pat Moore nee Harris: My grandmother Lilian Watkins and her family used to go to Bull Farm, Cranbrook hop picking.

    Here are some notes she made from before she died – she was 93!

    Hop Picking in Kent.

    Each year the family would go hop picking at Bull Farm near Cranbrook in Kent. I went hop picking from about the age of 4 or 5 until I started work (Mid 1920s -Mid 1930s).

    Three or four families from Mansion Street, London would all get together and hire a van and load it with old chairs and mattress covers.

    They would go down to the farm which was in a hollow where there were huts set up for them around a pond. The water was not good enough to drink or wash in but the kids played around it. The farmer would cut loads of faggots which the families then took to make up their beds. They would then stuff their mattresses with hay or straw and lay that on the faggot beds.

    There would be big open fires on which they would cook and make cups of tea.

    Whilst the adults cut down the hop vines the children would pick the hops off the vines and then pick the leaves out of the barrels to ensure the bushels of hops were clean and got best price.

    Hope this helps…x

  27. Allan Haynes permalink
    December 6, 2017

    Just happened to find your website whilst looking for something completely different…..
    Enjoying your Paddock Wood hopping pictures and comments.
    From the other side of the fence … my grandfather Charles Norton was bailiff (manager) at Ploggs Hall hop farm from 1936 to 1945 or 1946. He never stayed on one farm for too long ! He and his wife Jessie had the house as their “tied cottage” Some cottage ! Sold away from the farm in recent years for £2.1 million !! Living with them were son Frank and daughter Violet (Vie), my mother. She was farm secretary, and I have a photo of her in the Ploggs Hall hop garden doing the booking at measuring out time. I would be delighted to send the picture if you can give me an email address to send it to. I was born at Pembury Hospital in 1943 and spent my first few days or weeks at Ploggs Hall, but of course I don’t remember any of it !
    Miss Whitby in the photograph is listed in Mum’s old address book, at 28 Myrtle Street, Stepney. We went back to Ploggs Hall on a pilgrimage in 1954, and met up with the Mahoney family who she remembered from years before.
    Our bit of the family had moved to Chatham in 1943 and Vie became a town girl, but she could never forget the hops. For many years she went hopping at Jack Clark’s farm at Meresborough, near Rainham, Kent. They paid 6d. a bushel, but the tradition was that there was always a strike at some point for more money ! In the mid 1960s they installed a picking machine at the farm. It seemed a bit strange that this huge tin monster was built by KEF in Maidstone, whose better known products were very expensive hi-fi loudspeakers ! Mum went on the machine, picking out bunches, leaves, etc., and I was by then old enough to drive the tractor carting the bines down to the shed. I had the charge of a brand new Massey Ferguson 135 tractor, one of the best things a boy like me could aspire to.
    Some good times, and the memory of that wonderful smell will stay with me for ever. (The hops, rather than the diesel…). I say “memory” because – I have now completely lost my sense of smell.
    Best wishes with the site,
    Allan Haynes.

  28. Nicky Campbell permalink
    September 15, 2019

    Hi All

    I have returned to this site after a few years and I am fascinated to read the replies regarding Ploggs Hall.

    My husband Angus Campbell and I still own the Hoppers Huts and cookhouse that belonged to Ploggs Hall. They have been in the family since the early 60’s. The huts are still in use as stables, poultry housing and for storage.

    If any of the ex Ploggs Hall Hoppers would like get in touch, that would be great. My email address is

    Kind regards

  29. Patricia Moore permalink
    April 19, 2020

    Hi Julie Tyndall

    I use to go to bull farm Cranbrook, from an early age , I’m 75. now, and was glad to get away from London Camberwell. I don’t recall the name Tyndall but probably because your grandmother was in the hop huts looking over towards the pond, we were the other side, my 2 brothers use to fish in the pond. My mum and grandmother are long gone so I can’t ask them, as maybe they would have known your family We last went hopping to bulls farm in 1958 when I was 13. such happy days.
    Thanks for your reply Pat Moore nee Harris

  30. Patricia Moore permalink
    April 20, 2020

    Hi Julie Tyndall

    Sorry but I meant to say that ” I didn’t remember the name Watkins ”

    I wish I was going hop picking this year, happy days

    Pat Moore Nee Harris.

  31. Michelle Yuzik permalink
    January 28, 2022

    I had an aunt (my mother’s sister) whose name was Sheila. She went missing from the Kootenays (in British Columbia CANADA) in the 1950’s or early 1960’s.
    This is the first reference to her name which was Sheila Tarling. My grandfather Ralph Harvey James Tarling (1891 – 1967) was from London, England, United Kingdom.
    We have not heard from Sheila since she left.

  32. John stevens permalink
    July 10, 2023

    The Day family from Kirks Place, Limehouse, at Highwoods Farm in Collier St, Kent in the fifties

    Hi Great picture I dont know who the other are but the guy with the baby and the cap is my Granfather George Pye and the old lady is my grandmother Matilda Pye

  33. Sandra Ash permalink
    April 9, 2024

    I went with my extended family to Old Hay Farm in the 1950s
    and 1960s I would love to hear from anyone who was there at that time.
    Family names include Waters, Gibbs, Flint,
    We stayed on the “top common”, there was also a bottom common.
    There was a mixture of corrugated tin and brick huts.

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