Out of the Hay and into the Hops

Hop cultivation in Wealden Kent & hop marketing in Southwark

Author(s): CORDLE, Celia
ISBN13/Barcode: 9781907396045

Hop cultivation in Wealden Kent and hop marketing in Southwark, 1744-2000


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“This book is innovative in terms of its scale and content, and in drawing the connections between the two districts of Kent and London it is a fascinating and valuable addition to the literature on hop culture. Its methodological approach is also very impressive and the use of a range of both quantitative and qualitative source material acts as a model for what a local and regional study can achieve... this is a thorough and thoroughly pleasing study of one of England's 'alternative' agricultures.” Nicola Verdon, Economic History Review

“Utterly fascinating” Journal of Kent History

“As an insight into an iconic rural landscape, this an excellent guide.” Rural History

“This strongly recommended book has enabled me to develop my understanding of this agricultural, commercial and social phenomenon.” Local History News

“[a] window onto a past age, now clearly lost to us.” Jonathan Healey, Local Population Studies

Out of the Hay and into the Hops explores the history and development of hop cultivation in the Weald of Kent together with the marketing of this important crop in the Borough at Southwark (where a significant proportion of Wealden hops were sold).

A picture emerges of the relationship between the two activities, as well as of the impact this rural industry had upon the lives of the people engaged in it.

Dr Cordle draws extensively on personal accounts of hop work to evoke a way of life now lost for good. Oral history, together with evidence from farm books and other sources, records how the steady routine of hop ploughing and dung spreading, weeding and spraying contrasted with the bustle and excitement of hop picking (bringing in, as it did, many itinerant workers from outside the community to help with the harvest) and the anxious period of drying the crop.

For hops, prey to the vagaries of weather and disease, needed much care and attention to bring them to fruition. In early times their cultivation provided work for more people than any other crop.

The diverse processes of hop cultivation are examined within the wider context of events such as the advent of rail and the effects of war, as are changes to the working practices and technologies used, and their reception and implementation in the Weald.

Meanwhile, in the Borough, an enclave of hop factors and merchants, whose interests sometimes conflicted with those of the hop growers, arose and then suffered decline. A full account of this trade is presented, including day-to-day working practices, links with the Weald, and the changes in hop marketing following Britain's entry into the European Economic Community.

This book provides readers with a fascinating analysis of some three hundred years of hop history in the Weald and the Borough. Hops still grow in the Weald; in the Borough, the Le May façade and the gates of the Hop Exchange are reminders of former trade.

Additional Information

ISBN13/Barcode 9781907396045
ISBN10 1907396047
Author CORDLE, Celia
Binding Paperback
Date Published 15 Aug 2011
Frequency No
Report Date N/A
Pages 183
Publisher University of Hertfordshire Press

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