Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

QUERY: Gathering rose hips

2014-08-22 12.38.30It is well known that rose (Rosa spp.) hips were widely gathered by schoolchildren for the manufacture of rose-hip syrup during the Second World War, but when did this activity cease?
According to The Times of 3 October 1966:
‘Thousands of school children in the North [of England] and in Scotland – pick the crop from the wild hedgerows for extra pocket money … Hundreds of tons are picked every autumn. The children are paid by the pound, and the school, which usually acts as the weighing depot, receives an additional payment a pound for its ammenities fund. Some schools appoint a “King” or “Queen Hip” to supervise the depot operations with a merit badge for the child with the most poundage, and, of course, the most rose hip money in his pocket.’
Any records of rose-hip gathering would be appreciated.

Comment from Peter Bate, March 2019:  Rose hip collecting for rose-hip syrup continued into the 1960s, at least in Cumbria, as I did it myself in about 1965.  We got 4d/lb, and that is a lot of rose hips.  I only did it once so 1965 may well have been the last year.  It does seem amazing that this practice from WW2 lasted so long.

Image: Nunhead Cemetery, London Borough of Southwark, August 2014.

Updated 23 March 2019.

  • Upcoming Events

  • Recent Plants

  • Archives