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What are oast houses and how did they work?

Oast houses can still be seen all over Kent.

Have you ever seen an oast house in Kent? How big are they? Is there anything unusual about them?

An Oast House

Look at this picture; can you find any clues about what oast houses were made from and what they were used for?

When the flowers were picked from the hop plants they were taken to the oast house. Here they were dried, cooled and packed up ready to be sold to the brewery.

Firing the Kilns

An oast house worked a bit like a tumble dryer. A fire beneath the roundel heated the hops. The cowl, on top of the oast house, was shaped like a cylinder. It was rotated by a wind vane, which allowed air to circulate in the roundel. The cowl also allowed moisture to escape.

Using the Oast House Challenge, can you explain to your friend how an oast house worked?

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