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Kingsley Wood & Hampshire Hop Pickers (1937)

Sir Howard Kingsley Wood

In 1937, the Minister for Health, Sir Howard Kingsley Wood, visited families working as hop pickers in Hampshire.

Sir Kingsley Wood Visits The Hop Fields (1937): British Pathé

While the hop fields of Kent are well remembered, the “nation’s favourite fruit” was also grown and picked in Hampshire.

Sir Kingsley Wood, Minister of Health, arrives to inspect the living conditions of Hampshire hop pickers. He wants to see them housed in the most hygienic conditions possible. 

“Their temporary homes should be comfortable and healthy, so that while they work they may also play in safety” says the narrator.

We see the barracks and tents where they live during the hop picking season. 

To modern eyes, these look too rudimentary for the children and toddlers scattered across the fields, never mind the workers. But it was a different age and may have been more comfortable than their longer term accommodation elsewhere.

Sir Kingsley Wood then goes onto the hop field. 

He’s surrounded by the hop pickers as he addresses the camera. He talks of progress made in the conditions for the hop pickers from previous years. Then he wishes the hop pickers good luck. 

Finally, he checks the hop fruits, with help from some small children.

Find out more about Churchill’s wartime Chancellor, Sir Kingsley Wood