Local History: Hop Picking in Kent

Ref: C3744898

For some years history lecturer and local resident Dr Toby Butler has been exploring the remains of the hop picking industry with students and volunteers around West Kent. In this talk Toby will discuss his work bringing groups of ex-pickers down from East London to revisit local farms and record their memories, and the discoveries of ruined hop-related buildings made on visits to ex-hop farms. The session will include archive film footage and a short documentary film, shot recently at nearby farms in Capel and Five Oak Green.

Course aim

In this exploration of the heritage of the hop industry around Tonbridge, we will consider the history of hop growing and picking in the area; how it has been portrayed and the role it played in people's lives.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • To increase awareness and appreciation of the physical remains of the hop picking industry in the local area
  • To explore and share memories of the industry and consider how they compare to accounts from commentators and journalists
  • To examine and consider the portrayal of the local industry in film, from newsreel to present.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation

Download full course information sheet

Local History: Hop Picking in Kent


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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