Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


0851.  My mother is a lifelong insomniac and was often advised to try hop pillows – they didn’t work [e-mail, July 2019].

2.  We used to go hop-picking in Wateringbury, Kent, from our home in South Croydon when I was a kid.  It was our summer holiday, the whole family went, grans and all.  The smell of hops fills me with nostalgia, even though I remember little –  and the brown stains they leave on your hands [Ard Aoibhinn, Co. Donegal, September 2017].

3.  During the War we used to collect nettles [Urtica dioica] which we cooked like spinach, hop tops which were crunchy, and dandelion [Taraxacum officinale] leaves which we had in salads [South Croydon, Surrey, May 2014]

4.  According to my mother, Mrs Anne Wilks (b. 1918), of Whitstable, Kent:
They say that dried hops under, or in, the pillow help you sleep [Upminster, Essex, March 2011].

2014-07-12 09.20.595. In Kent they hang up hops in their houses for luck [Kew Gardens, Surrey, January 1999].

6. Take a bunch of wild hops, crush in a linen bag and place under your pillow to induce a good night’s sleep [Bishop’s Hull, Somerset, February 1998].

Images:  main, north bank of the River Thames, Richmond, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, August 2014; upper inset, hop field, Stonegate,East Sussex, July 2015; lower inset, detail of ‘stuccoed pilaster with hop plants,’ 17 Court Street, Faversham, Kent,  built for local brewery company 1869, July 2014.