Gone hopping in Kent

Hop picking in Kent, 1875.
Hopping in Kent, 1875, from the British Library, via Wikipedia.

From East London (1901) by Walter Besant:

They ran through Wapping and along Thames Street, which is empty on Saturday afternoon; they ran across London Bridge, they poured into London Bridge Station. One of the girls knew the name of the station they wanted; it was in Kent. They took tickets, and they went off.

They had gone hopping.

Thousands of Londoners in the season go hopping. I  wish I could dwell upon the delights of the work. Unfortunately, like the summer, it is too soon over. While it lasts the hoppers sleep in barns, they work in the open, they breathe fresh air, they get good pay, they enjoy every evening a singsong and a free-and easy. The beer flows like a rivulet; everybody is thirsty, everybody is cheerful, everybody is friendly.

When it was over Liz returned, browned and refreshed and strengthened, but fearful of the consequences, because she had deserted her work. But she was fortunate. They took her back into the factory and so she went on as before.

3 thoughts on “Gone hopping in Kent”

  1. Sid — think this author is trying to emphasise how shite was for factory workers in East London so is possibly putting a more positive spin on what was just (I guess) yet more backbreaking work, but with a view.

  2. My Hackneyite father-in-law used to go hopping with his aunties. It must have been going on as late as the early 60s.

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