Visiting Hop Pickers

Colin's Story
    Colin Bigden recalls his happy visits to Bodiam between 1950 and 1953.  Colin's family came from Dagenham and stayed at the Terrace Wood Camp near the Curlew (or Junction Inn as it was then called).  Terrace Wood has now been deveolped into a housing estate called Castle Hurst.

    At the Terrace Wood camp Colin's family were next door to a family called Buffard who came from Hastings.  His cousins were in a hut backing on to his family's and he recalls that families would reserve the same hut year after year and the community would reform year after year.  Colin has supplied the photograph below taken outside their Hut - No. 28.

Terrace Wood Hut No.28
Back Row: Mrs Buffard, Bob Harris, May Harris, Sarah Bigden, Alf Bigden, Margaret Bigden, Rose Cooper (??), Mr Buffard
Front Row: Brian Harrington, Colin Bigden, Brian Buffard (with Pip).

    As you can see from the photo, these huts appear very different from the corregated iron ones generally used.  These were made of precast concrete and were considered to be "luxurious" in comparison.  Colin thinks there must have been about 60 huts in the complex with a toilet block with flush toilets.  Somewhat different to the hut with a wooden seat over a hole in the ground.

    Colin has happy memories of his hop picking days and as a youth of some 10 years old, did as little as he could get away with when it came to picking hops.  It was much more fun helping out on the back of the lorry that collected the pokes of hops and took them to the oast.  The lorry drivers name was Ernie George.