Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hop Demonstration 1909 - The Workers Beer

Hop Demonstration 1908

On May 16th 1908

“Hop Saturday” 

– around 50,000 people working in the hop trade travelled to London to demonstrate against unfair foreign competition and to demand the introduction of a tariff, on imported hops. It was the largest demonstration in Trafalgar Square for many years.
Special trains were laid on to London Bridge from where the demonstrators marched to Trafalgar Square, accompanied by bands playing and banners flying.

According to the Times, “One of the most conspicuous banners bore the words: ‘And shall hops picked by Chinamen make England's hop trade die, here's 50,000 Kentish men will know the reason why’". Another, appropriately above the plinth of Nelson’s column, read “England expects that every hop shall pay a duty”. A resolution was proposed demanding the imposition of an import duty of 40 shillings per cwt on all foreign hops. Having carried the resolution, the assembled gathering sang "Rule Britannia", after which the massed bands played the National Anthem and a verse of "Auld Lang Syne".
According to the London Illustrated News, one banner being carried in the demonstration on 16th May 1908, bordered in black, bore the words "In loving memory of 30,000 acrers of British hops"