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The Hoppers' Memorial, Hadlow - Eroticdreambattle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Tony Grist

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The Hoppers' Memorial, Hadlow [Jan. 27th, 2017|05:39 pm]
Tony Grist


On the 20th October 1853 a waggon was taking a party of hop-pickers back to their camp in Golden Green, Kent when it came to grief on the badly maintained wooden bridge over the river Medway at Hartlake and tipped them all into the water.  The river was in flood.  11 made it to the banks. 30 drowned.

The victims were Romanys, many from one extended family, some from Ireland.  All were buried in a mass grave in the churchyard at Hadlow, at the expense of the parish, near the farm where they'd been working. The youngest- a two year old girl- is listed on the monument as "baby girl"  because the only people who knew her name died with her.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sorenr
2017-01-27 06:16 pm (UTC)
It's nice to think that some cared enough about them to erect a memorial. I wonder if that would happen in today's UK - or Denmark or anywhere in Europe, for that matter.

Not, of course, that it really matters much what happens after we're gone.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-01-27 07:07 pm (UTC)
These days there'd be a makeshift shrine at the site of the accident with flowers and cards and soft toys. Whether there'd be a permanent monument like this I'm not sure. I think there'd be something at the grave site- but maybe not as grand. Fashions change.

But then today it's very unlikely there'd be a mass grave. Relatives would claim the bodies and take them away.

I think this particular disaster hit hard. An accident causing 30 deaths would have been an extraordinary event in mid-19th century England.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2017-01-27 07:43 pm (UTC)
With no relatives left behind I dare say they'd be cremated and go in the common grave here in Denmark without a stone or a plaque.

And yes, numbers change in value from period to period - and place to place. It's nice to think, though, that with nobody else left behind to think of them, the memorial made you write about them.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-01-27 08:37 pm (UTC)
Yes, they're not forgotten...
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[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2017-01-28 06:39 am (UTC)
Baby girl...

Oh, that's so sad.

But it's good that they are remembered, even now.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-01-28 09:19 am (UTC)
I spent my teenage years in Hadlow. It had a reputation in the 19th century as the roughest, toughest village in Kent- but I think, even so, the Hartlake disaster was the most remarkable, terrible thing that ever happened there.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2017-01-28 03:20 pm (UTC)
I think I remember reading/hearing that not all Irish travelers who picked hops were Romany. I must look it up.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-01-28 04:37 pm (UTC)
I believe that's true. Irish travellers aren't necessarily Romany. Some are; and some are just native Irish people who have taken to the road.
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