Theme Rural Life

The rural landscape of the South East of England features in many of the films in the archive's collection. They provide a portrait of life in rural villages and work on the land in the region. The hop farming industry which flourished in Kent has been captured well on film and includes fascinating material on hop-pickers who came to Kent, often from the east-end of London, in the early autumn to harvest the crops.

Other agricultural activities include wheat and corn harvesting, fruit orchards, mink farming, sheep and dairy farming, rabbit and game hunting, and the Women’s Land Army during the First World War. Film of rural and village events and activities such as agricultural shows, village fairs, rural crafts and harvest festival celebrations also feature in the collection. Examples include In The Garden of England (1938) - a picturesque film by Bill and John Barnes illustrating rural scenery and agriculture in Kent including horse drawn ploughing, fruit farming and hop-picking in the late 1930s. Hoplands of Kent (1930s) is a documentary film directed by Mary Field for Gaumont, focusing on the hop-picking process from start to finish and includes scenes showing women and children harvesting the hops. Local Industries and Farming (1947) features images of working life in Kent such as a steel factory, sheep market, potato farming, and fishing.