The humble hop cone once offered thousands of underpriviledged Londoners the annual chance to leave the City's smog in August and September, migrate to the healthier countryside and live happily for six or seven weeks in near squalor, whilst sleeping on straw-filled palliasses crawling with mice, earwigs and spiders and cook their dinners on open fires - even in the pouring rain. Apart from this type of escape there was little opportunity of a break for many city dwellers. When mechainisation took over the holidays stopped, and so did the chance to earn extra money for Christmas and clothes for a growing family.
This fascinating collection, compiled from memories of former hop pickers and their families, is Hilary Heffernan's fifth book about the annual hop. It will provide a reflective read to those who were involved in hop picking and those who would like to learn more.