Beer history videos

VIDEO: Hop Harvest, 1965

From the fabulous British Pathé archive on YouTube, this short film, made in 1965, is entitled ‘Tomorrow’s Beer’ and shows cockney hop-pickers at work in Kent.

Apart from the groovy music and barbecue, it could have been shot at almost any time in the last 150 years.

On a related note, Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight starts in a few weeks time, from 26 September to 12 October.

10 replies on “VIDEO: Hop Harvest, 1965”

Mechanised picking really took off in Britain in the 1950s. Writing in 1964 Burgess says: “Although the supply of casual labour continues to decrease and its cost to increase, some growths of hops are still picked entirely by hand”.

Must have been a small percentage by then though, Neve gives the percentage machine picked in England in 1963 as 90%.

It looks like it was going on in 1965, though – Pathe News wouldn’t have put on a re-enactment! I would guess that 90% of the hops didn’t correspond to 90% of the growers – manual labour probably hung on for longer in the smaller enterprises.

It’s time to address the really important issue here: who the hell cooks sausages on a barbecue using a roasting tin and a block of lard!?

On the BBQ thing, I would think the narrator had an international audience in mind, either that, or was using a newly groovy word to match the music. To me it looks just like how the vendors used to cook sausages and onions on the high streets for people leaving concerts and such. Do they still do this in London I wonder? I can still remember the taste! Nice upbeat feel to this clip, you get a sense of England as one nation, we’re all in this together kind of thing, something largely lost since then I think. Maybe it will come back if Scotland takes a powder.

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