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Patrick Grattan

The Cowl

  The cowl on the kiln is the most distinctive feature of oasts and hop kilns, yet little is known about its history. It is a skillfull invention for preventing rain entering the vent at the top of the kiln and for drawing the draught up through the drying floor. […]

19th Century variants and eccentrics

As mentioned on the Home Page, there is no standard, off-the-shelf designs of oasts and hop kilns. Some were cross-overs between round and square kilns. One example is at Great Dixter, East Sussex which has three square kilns but looks more like three round kilns joined together outside. It may […]

The Comeback of the Square kiln

To talk of a comeback of the square kiln is really only relevant in Kent/Sussex where the roundal had taken over by storm in the mid 19th C. In Hampshire, Hereford and Worcester the square kiln remained predominant through the century. But from about the 1860s there was a reversal […]

20th-21st Centuries

In the 20th Century drying and bagging of hops went on much as it had done in previous centuries on the great majority of hop farms. But alongside time-tested practices new designs and installations from the UK and other countries were appearing on larger farms. Far more rigorous research into […]

Hop drying in America

    Hop kilns are widely known as Hop Houses in the US. Hop growing and drying in America developed differently from England. In England a cottage industry of hopping and brewing spread widely across many counties from the 16th Century. Then it consolidated into three areas with the most […]

New Book on Oast and Hop Kiln History.

The account on this website has now been greatly developed as a book with the same name, published by Liverpool University Press and Historic England in November 2021.  It has 250 colour illustrations, diagrams and maps