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Harvesting the hops

Hops would start to grow in about April time and by July the flowers were appearing. The harvest time for hops was September, and due to the need to gather in the hops quickly workers would be drafted in from the towns of South Wales and the Black Country to help out.

Pickers generally fell into four categories:

  • Home-dwelling pickers (locals)
  • Imported or foreign pickers
  • Gypsies or Travellers
  • Vagrants, casuals or tramps.

In the 19th century hop-growers began to employ agents to hire pickers on their behalf. The agents would give the pickers the details of the train times and in times of crop failure would advise them to stay at home.

[Original author: Miranda Greene, 2005]