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Hop Picking Photographs

August 8, 2019
by the gentle author

This selection of hop picking photographs is from the archive of Tower Hamlets Community Housing. Traditionally, this was the time when East Enders headed down to the Hop Farms of Kent & Sussex, embracing the opportunity of a breath of country air and earning a few bob too.

Bill Brownlow, Margie Brownlow, Terry Brownlow & Kate Milchard, with Keith Brownlow & Kevin Locke in front, at Guinness’ Northland’s Farm at Bodiam, Sussex, in 1958. Guinness bought land at Bodiam in 1905 and eight hundred acres were devoted to hop growing at its peak.

Julie Mason, Ted Hart, Edward Hart & friends at Hoathleys Farm, Hook Green, near Lamberhurst, Kent

Lou Osbourn, Derek Protheroe & Kate Day at Goudhurst Farm

Margie Brownlow & Charlie Brownlow with Keith Brownlow, Kate Milchard & Terry Brownlow in front at Guinness’ Northland’s Farm at Bodiam, Sussex, in 1950

Mr & Mrs Gallagher with Kitty Adams & Jackie Gallagher from Westport St, Stepney, in the hop gardens at Pembles Farm, Five Oak Green, Kent in 1959

Jackie Harrop, Joan Day & George Rogers at Whitbread’s Farm, Beltring, Kent in 1949

Mag Day (on the left at the back) in the hop gardens with others at Highwood’s Farm, Collier St, in 1938

Pop Harrop at Whitbread’s Farm, Beltring, Kent in 1949

Sarah Watt, Mrs Hopkins, Steven Allen, Ann Allen, Tom, Albert Allen & Sally Watt in the hop gardens at Jack Thompsett’s Den Farm, Collier St, Kent in 1943

Harry Watt, Tom Shuffle, Mary Shuffle, Sally Watt, Julie Callagher, Ada Watt & Sarah Watt in the hop gardens at Jack Thompsett’s Den Farm, Collier St, Kent in the fifties

Harry Watt, Sally Watt, Sarah Watt holding Terry Ellames in the hop gardens at Jack Thompsett’s Den Farm, Collier St, Kent in 1957

Harry Ayres, a pole puller, in the hop gardens at Diamond Place Farm, Nettlestead, Kent

Emmie Rist, Theresa Webber, Kit Webber & Eileen Ayres  in the hop gardens at Diamond Place Farm, Nettlestead, Kent

Kit Webber with her Aunt Mary, her Dad Sam Webber and her Mum, Emmie Ris,t in the hop gardens at Diamond Place Farm, Nettlestead, Kent

Harry Ayres with his wife Kit Webber in the hop gardens at Diamond Place Farm, Nettlestead, Kent.

Richard Pyburn, Mag Day, Patty Seach and Kitty Gray from Kirks Place, Limehouse, in the hop gardens at Highwoods Farm, Collier St, Kent

The Gorst and Webber families at Jack Thompsett’s Farm, Fowle Hall, Kent in the forties

Kitty Waters with sons Terry & John outside the huts at Pembles Farm, Five Oak Green, Kent in 1952

Mr & Mrs Gallagher from Westport St, Stepney, with their grandchildren in the hop gardens at Pembles Farm, Five Oak Green, Kent in 1958

Sybil Ogden, Doris Cossey, Danny Tyrrell & Sally Hawes near Yalding, Kent

John Doree, Alice Thomas, Celia Doree & Mavis Doree in the hop gardens near Cranbrook, Kent

Bill Thomas & his wife Annie, in the hop gardens near Cranbrook, Kent

The Castleman Family from Poplar hop picking in the twenties

Terry & Margie Brownlow at Guinness’ Northland’s Farm at Bodiam in Sussex in 1949

Alfie Raines, Johnny Raines, Charlie Cushway, Les Benjamin & Tommy Webber in the Hop Gardens at Jack Thompsett’s Farm at Fowl Hall near Paddock Wood in Kent

Lal Outram, Wag Outram & Mary Day on the common at Jack Thompsett’s Farm at Fowl Hall near Paddock Wood in Kent in 1955

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.

Sally Watt’s Hop Picker’s account book from Jack Thompsett’s Den Farm, Collier St, Kent in the fifties

You may also like to take a look at

Hop Picking Portraits

13 Responses leave one →
  1. Carol Servis permalink
    August 8, 2019

    Fantastic nudge to the memory. We were on Thompsett
    Farm in Collier St. great times and freedom as a kid.
    Thank you for compiling this article
    Carol Servis (Hurst).

  2. August 8, 2019

    so many smiles

  3. Jill Wilson permalink
    August 8, 2019

    And having a jolly time by the look of it! Great photos…

  4. Greta Kelly permalink
    August 8, 2019

    And not a drop of rain to be seen. I wonder if the pickers are needed today? Or have they been replaced by machinery?
    Wonderful glimpse into the past. So many happy faces.

  5. Amanda permalink
    August 8, 2019

    These ARE happy photos.
    Well done to all the families for marking the snaps so well with everyone’s names.
    So many unmarked photos in my old albums with mystery relatives forevermore.

    My favourites are Johnno Mahoney in his fabulous jaunty hat driving the Mahoney Special with a dozen on board.
    And the 1920s scene of the Castleman family with the cutest little dog posing centre stage like he knew he would be in a photo. Look at those feetsies.

    Official farm Account Book published by W. H. SMITH & SON
    High Street, Maidstone – who else?

  6. Karen Chapman permalink
    August 8, 2019

    These photos are lovely. Simpler times, yet people were happy. There would have been hardship, undoubtedly, but we as a society have so much these days, yet we are more troubled than ever.

    This makes me want to watch The Darling Buds of May!

    A nice bit of escapism before noon.

    Thank you GA.

  7. August 8, 2019

    Really wonderful pictures.

  8. Richard Smith permalink
    August 8, 2019

    Wonderful folk, wonderful pictures.

  9. Ian Silverton permalink
    August 8, 2019

    Most of the children we played with in the Streets around Bethnal Green in the 50s went hopp picking in Kent on the backs of their fathers horses and carts, once through the Blackwell Tunnel all life changes for the better they told me, fresh air miles of country side to play in and for children freedom from the restrictions of strict parents and teachers and no dirty Streets and Bombed out houses to be seen. The Streets in Bethnal Green went very quite for those few weeks while away those that stayed missed them ans envied them and there very deep tans on return to our squalor. Thanks GA for the pictures and stories, good luck.

  10. August 8, 2019

    Wonderful photographs and so evocative of those happy days.
    An era long gone …….

  11. Pamela Traves permalink
    August 8, 2019

    What Amazing Pictures of the Hop workers!! Thank You So Much!!

  12. Derek Bailey permalink
    August 8, 2019

    I remember coming back to Stepney in 1945 after being evacuated for almost six years and being asked by kids on our street (Umberston St) if me and my brothers were going hopping? Dumb me thought I was having my leg pulled and knew only of hopping on one leg. Never did go to Kent to go hopping.

  13. Harry Evans permalink
    October 25, 2020

    Good day. I’m 71 I loved those days of comparative freedom that’s when our mums and grandma’s weren’t about.
    We went to Bodiham most of the time. If love to find photos of our family. I miss those days I try to tell my kids and 5 grandsons about it but I’m sure they think I’m exaggerating.
    Our families were Marlin, Evans and maybe Robertson( my great man was a money lender and went by several names) she also kept all the account books and have my mum ,nan and aunts pocket money lol .
    Kind regards Harry Evans

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