Spies & Spitfires (ebook)

Spies & Spitfires (ebook)

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It is difficult to imagine today but hop picking once touched countless families all around the country. In the East End of London alone, on a good year, up to 200,000 people may have spent a month picking hops. Even on a normal year around 70,000 people, mainly mums and kids, would travel to the hops fields of Britain and spend their 'working holiday’ picking the brown gold or 'Grapes of the South’ as some called them, so sought after by brewers for their beer. One hop farm in Paddock Wood took over 4,000 Londoners most years. Each person needed to be housed and fed for a month in a military operation long lost today. Rows of hop tents or tin huts were opened up as the families poured in from train stations. One of the first jobs was to clean them up and make them liveable again after a year lying dormant. Mice were chased out, pigeons were shooed away, and the odd owl or two that had made a nice quiet roost. Then beds were made, clothes unpacked and sometimes a few decorations, even a few hop bines strung around the walls. Partitions were hung up, occasionally even wallpaper was applied! Faggots of wood were collected for the open fires and the kettle boiled. For a few short and enjoyable weeks in autumn these little 'shanty towns’ became home, new friends were made and old acquaintances reunited. Many families would travel to the hop fields of Kent and elsewhere on special 'hop trains’ or 'hoppers’, laid on for the unique mass movement of humans on their yearly pilgrimage. It is hard today to understand how important hop picking was. Many families could not afford holidays but they could escape the grime and smog of the big cities and for a few short weeks and earn money towards the family coffers. For many women it was the only money that they earned all year and went towards everything from new shoes to Christmas presents. Many farms paid in tokens rather than money and had their own farm shops where the tokens could be exchanged for food and goods.

Detalles del ebook
Crows Nest Publications
EPub con DRM
Historia Universal
Prelectura del libro:
Spies & Spitfires (ebook)


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