- British Railways leaflet detailing cheap return tickets, third class
- to the Hop Gardens during the Hop-Picking season
- circa 1950s
- 159 x 248mm (6¼ x 9¾in)
Hops, one of the basic ingredients in beer brewing, have been grown in Britain for over 500 years. Humulus lupulus is the Latin name for the hop, it is the female plant, which bears the hop flowers or cones required by the brewing industry to impart both bitterness and a distinctive floral quality to the beer.
The harvest usually starts in early September and depending on the variety and size of farm, it can continue into early October. Picked by hand until the 1960's the process has now been mechanised.
During the six week season thousands of Londoners would flock to the counties of Kent and Sussex by special trains to work and live in the hop gardens. Generations of families performed this annual pilgrimage many often returning to the same farm year after year.
The children found the train journey exciting, the atmosphere in the carriage became giddy with the anticipation of arrival, it was seen as a holiday in the country, away from the dirty and polluted city - quite literary, a breath of fresh air.