"I used to love hop-picking when I was a child. The village children went along with their mothers in the summer holidays (especially late in Kent in those days to allow for the hop picking season)."The message above is on this 1960s card
Kent, the Garden of England, used to be the main centre of production of hops for the brewing industry.
Hops are climbing plants and were trained up poles and wires.
The harvest season lasted for 6 weeks, from the beginning of September. It was very labour intensive and whole families would come down from London and elsewhere to work for the season, known as "hopping down in Kent".
Once picked, the hops had to be dried in oast houses, the buildings with conical roofs seen in the background of the second two postcards.
At one time 77,000 acres were devoted to hop farming but foreign imports reduced this to something in the region of 33,000 acres. Nowadays there is relatively little hop growing in Kent, though there is still a certain amount (3,000 acres) and the picking is now mechanised. The reduction of hop growing is mainly the result of modern tastes having changed from beers to lagers. Brewing lagers uses fewer hops.
Oast houses can still be seen around Kent but most have been converted into private homes and at least one is now a museum.
A post for Sepia Saturday. A click on the button will take you to the blog.