In 1900, hop-picking was a useful occupation especially for women who relied on it to earn money to buy the family's winter clothing.
A "Hop Picker's Account Book" has been found in the local area and it gives an insight into the work and wages of a worker. The book was published by "Walter Ruck (late W.E.Clarke), 11 High Street, Maidstone". The hop picker who owned this account book was a Mrs Harborough and the date was 1899.
REGULATIONS FOR POLE-PULLERS AND PICKERS.
POLE-PULLERS - Wages to be ..................... per day, or in proportion thereto for the time he may be employed;
For every breach of the above regulations the pole-puller shall forfeit 3d.
In default thereof to pay the cost of replacing what may be missing or unfairly damaged.
If discharged for bad conduct, or for not observing these regulations, to forfeit one day's wages.
HOP-PICKERS - All pickers to pick the hops well to their employer's satisfaction, and to be subject to the regulations herein set forth; and after the tally shall have been set, they are to remain until the picking is all finished;
For every breach of these regulations to forfeit one basket of hops. The tally to be set during the first week of the picking, if not previously set; but any picker who shall leave before the picking is finished, or who shall be discharged for conduct not in accordance with the foregoing regulations or for other misconduct, shall be paid off at the rate of one shilling for every 12 baskets.
GENERAL REGULATIONS - Signal to be given by blowing a horn or otherwise when the picking is to be commenced or left off.
For any breach of these general orders, the person offending shall forfeit one shilling. All forfeits to be taken account of by the measurer at the time, and the amount to be deducted from the sums due to the offenders when paid at the finish of the picking.
Take notice, that all persons guilty of taking away poles, fruit, or of any illegal act, will be prosecuted.
Mrs Harborough worked six days a week from 28 August to 15 September 1899, she picked 373 measurings and was paid £2:13:3 and a halfpenny.