George Orwell’s hop-picking diary from 1931 is the first of many diaries that he kept until 1949, the year before his death. It follows some of his tramping expeditions through the late summer and autumn of 1931, starting in London but moving to Kent, where many urban workers (and their families) would head to harvest hops (for beer). Orwell’s hop-picking exploits later featured in an article for The New Statesman and Nation, and in one of his novels, A Clergyman’s Daughter. (You can read more about Orwell and tramping in ‘A Day in the Life of a Tramp’ and ‘The Spike’.) The diary begins on 25th August 1931, and ends on 8th October 1931.
The Orwell Prize is delighted to be ‘post-blogging’ Orwell’s hop-picking diary, with each entry being posted 80 years to the day since it was written. This project follows the success of the Webby-nominated blog of Orwell’s diaries from 1938 to 1942, and The Road to Wigan Pier diary blog following Orwell’s journey across the north of England.
The material published on this blog remains under copyright and is reproduced by kind permission of the Orwell Estate (at A. M. Heath) and Penguin Books. We are very grateful to Bill Hamilton and A. M. Heath, who hold the rights to Orwell’s literary estate for their permission, and also to Penguin and Harvill Secker, who publish Orwell, for their support. Thank you to Peter Davison, Gordon Bowker and D. J. Taylor for their advice, expertise and permission to use their work, and to Richard Blair (Orwell’s son) for his support.
The image in the banner is a picture of a common lodging house from Frank Gray’s The Tramp (1930), kindly provided by Gordon Bowker.
Finally, many thanks to Lucy Snow for the transcriptions.
For further information, please contact Gavin Freeguard, deputy director of the Orwell Prize and editor of the project.