Sunday, 1 July 2012

Another nail in the coffin

...of Farnham hops.

It's a strange thing this history business. I mean let's face it, it's all done and dusted, but I still keep finding new bits. How can it be that you can have new history? But pointless ponderings aside I did find out yet more about Farnham hops yesterday.

I've had a pdf file of an old hop book by George Clinch for some time but not really paid much attention to it as I was unimpressed by the picture of a male Fuggle plant early on. As the Fuggle is a female hop I didn't think this boded well for the book.

The offending image 
But when I finally got round to reading the book it was a riveting read, full of references and even a couple of mentions of Farnham. It was one about hop tax that really caught my eye:

"Hop growing received great encouragement in the year 1862 when the excise duty on hops was abolished. This tax on the produce of hop-gardens amounted to an average annual charge of nearly £7 per acre. It was specially unfair to growers in the Weald of Kent where the yield of hops was large and the value of produce  low; whilst in East and Mid-Kent and in the Farnham district, where higher-priced hops are grown, the burden was comparatively light."

 Encouraging to hop farmers the removal of the tax may have been, but surely it will have helped to erode the competitiveness of Farnham hops and hastened their demise.


  1. FAscinating time for hops, the 1860's. You also had the removal of the import duty on foreign hops. And floods of american hops coming in.

  2. The removal of duty on foreign hops? Yet another nail.