Hops Planted at Borough Market

Hops, essential to beer making, have played a significant role in Southwark’s commercial past. You need only look at the Market to see evidence in the centuries old coaching inns and breweries, hop warehouses and grand Victorian Hop Exchange that surround it. In the 1800s Southwark Street had become the epicentre of the English hop trade, with wagons of Kentish dried hops arriving to be warehoused and traded here by the hop factors and brewers merchants. Now in 2013 the Market has brought a new dimension to this rich seam of local tradition thanks to the Market Hall, where hops are being grown as one of the many activities taking place in the innovative new space.

A group of five young students from the Notre Dame School in Southwark lent a helping hand, planting out two varieties – the Fuggle hop and Wye Challenger – on hop screens that line the glass façade of the Market Hall. The girls are also members of the Southwark Young Pilgrims project, so as trained ambassadors for the Borough they were already pretty hot on their local history, but this was an opportunity to learn more about both the heritage and horticulture behind their community’s brewing industry, as Teresa Crowley, one of the teachers accompanying the students, recalls:

“We went into the new building to learn about the history of the Market and had a talk about hops. We then spent time planting the hops – this was a wonderful experience which we all joined in enthusiastically, and we hope to return to help harvest them in September. We all enjoyed our visit, and hope this is the first of many trips to the Market by students from Notre Dame School”.
Teresa Crowley, Teacher at Notre Dame School

The trade in hops and brewing in Southwark has diminished in recent times but, thanks to the new city garden rising up in Market Hall, Borough can bring an aspect of this ancient craft back to life for new generations to understand and enjoy.

The above has been sourced from the Borough Market Blog