Hopping In Kent - a Memory of Staplehurst.

Now I can't say 100% that it was Marden but it just sticks in my mind. Although I am only 31 now I went hopping a couple of times with my family who were originally from Silvertown.

The last time I went was in the early to mid 1980s when everything was packing up.

The things I remember about hopping was the huge cook house which had several fireplaces in along with a few old sofas and mattresses where we used to sit late into the night with everyone else who was staying in the huts. The huts were exactly that, just huts. I shared with my nan and grandad or my aunts or my dad sometimes or I would walk round the second row of huts and stay with one of my friend's family. They were made more homely with wallpaper and sideboards and kitchen tables that had been packed up in the car for that long jouney from London.
In the morning the only place to shower and brush your teeth was an outside tap over a sheet of corregated iron! It was absolutely freezing. The toilets were individual huts in the middle of the orchard behind the huts where daddy long legs lurked. These were wallpapered too.

When the men went out on the tractors to cut down the hops me and my nan used to go and nick apples from the farmer's field, sometimes having to hide behind the trees if we heard him and his truck. We would then bake apple pies and take it up to my dad and grandad and other men who were working in the fields. If my memory is correct the farmer may have been called Mr Tipple but that could have just been a nickname, I'm not too sure. He drove around in a pick-up with about 4 or 5 dogs on the back.

Sometimes me and my sister would run behind the tractor and pick up the hops that had fallen and throw them up onto the tractor as we were not allowed to ride on it whilst they were cutting down the hops. We would occasionally be allowed to ride back to the huts on the tractor when they had finished and I loved it.

Swimming in the river was great fun, jumping from the over hanging trees and my dad saying to me "There's pike in this river" every time the weeds got tangled up in my toes.

There was a pub nearby which I think was called the Gujin or Gudgen which was quite small and me and my sister would have to sit outside with crisps and a coke waiting for the adults to finish!

Great holiday though.

I do have some photos if anyone is interested. And if anyone remembers the Tomlins or the Kings from Silvertown and Vauxhall from hopping in Kent in the 1970s let me know.

A memory shared by Teresa Garrett on Sep 6th, 2010. Send Teresa Garrett a message.

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