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My Gran went hop picking one year in Worcs - and came home with a baby boy

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: February 11, 2014

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YOUR article in The Bugle (September 12 issue and subsequent issues about hop picking) brought back many memories for me. I was born in 1940 and lived with my Mom, Dad, Granny and Granddad.

My Granny loved to go hop picking and I remember well her hopping box. It was a large brown metal box about a yard long, half a yard wide and half a yard deep.

This was always kept in her bedroom with a lace cover over it until it was needed for hopping. It was then packed with all the things she needed for her few weeks in the hop yards. I think all the boxes were taken to the country by lorry and the pickers went by coach.

I visited my granny several times and I enjoyed it very much. My Gran shared, what was called a barrack, with another woman and a curtain was placed down the centre of it to divide it into two.

When the families visited at weekends we all slept in one big bed made of straw. We had lovely stews cooked over open fires in the shanty and had cider out of a barrel from the top barrack. The loo was in the orchard, a wooded twin seated affair, inside a wooden shed. (Those were the days).

But long before I came into the world, one year she went hop picking and came back with more than she bargained for, a baby boy. A local family had a friend who, outside of marriage, had given birth to a little boy and the only way that she could be accepted back into her family was to part with her child.

My Gran was asked it she would take him and, although she had a family of her own, three lads and two girls, she took him on. Gran and Granddad brought him up as their own child and legally adopted him. He was a much loved son and brother to our family and a great uncle to me and my cousin.

He fought in the Second World War and thankfully he returned, married and had a family of his own. We all thought the world of our Jack.

Name and address supplied.

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