next button




Hop Exchange

The Hop Exchange

The Victorian Hop Exchange, built to show some comparison with the elaborate and costly buildings of the financial heart of the City of London, still stands in Southwark Street, its decorative ironwork featuring designs of hops, and with a tableau of hop-pickers over its massive doorway.

Many Cockneys would journey from Southwark to work in the hop fields of Kent during the harvest; this is a traditional English folksong about the hop-pickers' experiences – note the Irish name featured – many of Southwark's inhabitants were Irish or partly Irish by the late 19th century.


Hopping down in Kent

Now some say hopping's lousy, I don't believe it's true

We only go a hopping to pick a hop or two

(Chorus) With me Tee-aye-I, Tee-aye-O, Tee-aye-ee-aye-O

Now when I went a hopping, hopping down in Kent

I saw old Mrs. Riley a –sweeping out her tent.

Now every Monday morning, just at six o-clock

You'll hear the old hopers calling:

Get up and boil your pot


Now Sunday is our washing day, don't we wash it clean

We boil it in our hopping pots and hang it on the green

Now do you want any money? Yes sir if you please

To buy a hock of bacon, and pound of mouldy cheese

Now here comes our old measurer, with his long nose and chin

With his ten gallon basket, and don't he pop 'em in!

Now when our old pole-puller he does come around He says:

Come on you dirty ol' hop-pickers, pick 'em up all off the ground

Now hopping is all over, all the money spent

And don't I wish I never went a-hopping down in Kent


Mays Hop Factors

  May's Hop Factors  
Page updated 10 July 2006
Ind. Rev.

The Lost Industry of Southwark Project is supported by:

the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs

Project Director- Kevin Flude

Email Kevin Flude. Cultural Heritage Resources

To find out more on Southwark visit the SOUTHWARK LOCAL STUDIES LIBRARY
& buy the excellent book by Leonard Riley entitled 'Southwark - an illustrated guide.'

Page template last updated 29 Dec 2010