This film is part of Free

Kent Hop Farming

A sympathetic portrait of hop-pickers and oast-house workers in 1930s Kent – showing scenes of rural life that have long since vanished

Amateur film 1930 10 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


This fascinating film shows families of hop-pickers, including children, hard at work pulling the hops off the bines on which they grow. The hops are put into sacks and taken to an oast-house for drying where we get glimpses of the interior workings of these unusual buildings. We also see the hop-pickers' temporary accommodation, called Hopper Huts, where cooking takes place on open fires. Derelict oast-houses and their conversions to domestic housing are also seen.

This interesting film, of unknown origin, depicts hop-picking scenes around Goldwell and Biddenden in Kent in the 1930s. It captures the period when the harvesting of hops required large numbers of temporary migrant labour, which in the case of the Kent hop-fields, came mostly from London's East End. Birmingham and other cities in the Midlands would provide pickers to work the hop-fields of the Malvern area. Special trains, called Hop Pickers' Specials would be provided to transport the families to the Kentish hop-fields. Once there, the families would be accommodated in Hopper Huts, which feature in this film.