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Getting Ready The Journey First Day Hop Picking Death at Hartlake Hopper's Hospital Evening Entertainment Video Clips



Marigold(Marg) and Child#1

Lilly(Lil) and Child#2

Daisy(Dai) and Child#3




SCENE 1-Grandmother sits in chair with children on floor around her.

Child#2:                       Tell us the story Granny

Granny:                        The one of the gypsies?

Child#3:                       Yes that one Granny!

Granny:                        Again?. . .

Child#1:                       Again Granny again!

Granny:                        As you wish, sit still and be quiet then.

(All children giggle and whisper, mime talking as Grandmother speaks)

Granny:                        One fateful evening in 1853, 20th of October I believe, the gypsies decided to travel onward from the hop farm. I’m not sure where they were going, I don’t even think that they knew themselves. But their first stop was somewhere to park their wagons for the night.

(Grandmother freezes while children get up and get into the positions of  Marg, Lil and Dai once in position Granny starts to speak again)

Granny:                        I had three particular friends there that night, lovely sisters they were. There was Lilly (Lil step foreward and curtsey) she was nice but always a bit quiet. Then there was Daisy (Dai step forward and push Lil out of the way and then smile sweetly) that girl was always on the go, a bit too loud mouthed sometimes too. Last bit not least there was Marigold (Marg step around Dai and wave) she was sweet and very kind hearted

 (Now Granny freezes and the gypsy children take over)


 SCENE2-Marg, Lil and Dai are sitting in the wagon on the way to their caravan talking about the holiday. (In cockney accent)


Lil:                                Ain’t this been a good ‘oliday girls?

Dai:                               Yeah, it ‘as, best one ever.

Marg:                           We’ll be back next year won’t we? And we earnt a bit of dosh so we won’t be starvin’.

Dai:                               My feet don’t ‘alf  ‘urt!

Lil:                                Yeah, me too!

Marg:                           Well, at least we can get back to London and ‘ave a bit of rest like.

Lil:                                Look, we’re commin’ up to that bridge now, when I used to come ‘ere with me Ma, she once told me it was haunted. I always used to shut me eyes till we got over it!

(Freeze while Granny speaks)

Granny:                        As I was saying, the gypsies travelled along the small windy road oblivious as to what lay ahead. They came to a bridge, Hartlake bridge, near the town of Hadlow.  The first waggon crossed the bridge saftely, but as the second waggon moved towards the bridge, the usually strong horse stubled. . .

(Now Granny freezes and the gypsy children take over)

ALL:                             (Scream) AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dai:                               Calm down silver, keep steady girl! Look the first waggon got over that bridge alright with the boys!

Marg:                           Yeah, this bridge is steady as a rock, strong as anything this bridge!

Dai:                               Look out, the bridge’s wobblin’!

Lil:                                Lilly, Marigold, hold onto me ‘ands!

(Gypsies freeze looking away from the audience, Granny in a sad tone take over)

Granny:                        It was hopeless, the weight of the children and the pockets that the children were sitting on were too much for the old horse to cope with, as the waggon rolled backwards away from the bridge and towards the dark rushing river, the horse stumbled back with the  waggon.

(Granny stops talking again and the gypsies take over)

SCENE 3- The crash!!!!!!!

Marg:                           I can’t see! I ‘ate water.

Lil:                                Silver, quiet old girl.

Dai:                               Lilly, hold onto silver, she’ll pull you out.

Marg:                           Lilly, I’m scared.

Dai:                               Hush you two, just calm down, we’ll be alright.

Lil:                                Marigold,Daisy!quick,the other carts are on the bridge. They’ll all be killed.

Marg:                           Look out! The carts are heading straight for us.

All                                (scream)

(Gypsies go off of the stage discreatly and Grandmother take over with her talking)

Grandma:                     Thirty gypsies, that night including my dear friends, drowned that night. They were buried at Hadlow Church. An oast shaped monument was made for the hop pickers with the inscription ‘This monument was erected by public subscription in memory of the thirty hop pickers who were drowned at Hartlake Bridge in a flood of the river Medway on the 20th October, 1853 and whose bodies were buried in this churchyard.’

(The gypsy children re-enter the stage as the grandchildren and sit on the floor. )

Child#1:                       Ahhhh, that’s so sad

Child#2:                       Yeah, I’ll never go over that bridge again!

Granny:                        Don’t be silly dear, the bridge is perfectly safe now.

Child#3:                       I don’t like that story Granny!

Granny:                        Well, I shan’t tell it anymore then. Now who wants chocolate biscuits?

All:                               Me!

Child#1:                       Come on then. . .

Question: Now write a newspaper report on the accident with the carts on the bridge.