East Kent tradition continues with modern take
Hoodening reimagined by Goldsmiths for an Amazon fulfilment centre
By: Ozaru Books
Hoodeners were primarily agricultural labourers, often working in ploughing teams. They used to visit pubs and the houses of large landowners during the fallow season of winter, to renew social bonds and ask for "largesse": beer and cake, or sometimes money. They would entertain their hosts with general horseplay, and sometimes songs.
What makes Hoodeners unique is their use of a Hooden Horse - a wooden horse's head, on a pole, with hessian sacking under which the 'animator' would hide to impersonate a real horse. Nowadays the Hoodeners will generally perform a play, involving some form of 'death and resurrection' theme, and collect money for charity.
The oldest group, the St Nicholas-at-
This year they are collecting for two local appeals: "Abi's Arm" - a young lady born without a lower arm, who hopes to become "bionic" - and Louie's Helping Hands, a charity supporting children aged 2-11 with multi-sensory impairments and physical difficulties.
The tradition is also being reimagined by the Post Workers Theatre at Goldsmiths Design Department: at the "Auto-hoodening" event on 9 December, "George" from the Hoodeners, George Frampton (author of the definitive book "Discordant Comicals - The Hooden Horse of East Kent" published by Ozaru Books, http://ozaru.net/
Ozaru Books is based in St Nicholas-at-
Note for Editors
Photographs of the horses, the author, and the book are available, as well as some video clips. Some historical photographs are also available (some can be found on the Hoodening website, which also has details of this year's performance schedule).