For more than a century‚ hopping was the main event in the East End calendar - an annual expedition of over 200‚000 Eastenders out to the Kentish countryside to look for casual work picking hops and stripping bines.
Aunt Daisy was one of these such day trippers. For her‚ the train ride from London Bridge to Faversham was a kind of magic that she always passed in a rush of sensation. To be away from the tight hustle of the city and lose herself in the open spaces and pollen mists of the Kentish summer provided her with a succour that would last her through the long winters back in London. Her delicate demeanour had never really suited the smutty terraces of the East End; rather she considered herself a countrywoman who just so happened to be stranded in the city.
Married young and yet not unhappily to Harold Baker‚ a closet homosexual who would never consummate their union‚ at some early point she wrote an escape clause into her life that shielded her from her life's difficult realities. It was this resolve‚ a kind of armour born out by her dreamy nature‚ that more than anything else marked Aunt Daisy out as an Eastender.
Thoughtful‚ moving and beautifully rendered‚ 'Hopping' captures the lost period from the 20s to the 50s when the East End of London wandered out to the eastern fringe of Kent‚ and shows how each place was forever altered by the other.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 05 / 2009
- 135 x 216mm