This photo was taken 4 years ago to the day. A day in October. A day early in my grief journey. A moment in our family history.

Time to turn back the hands of the clock back to before the Second World War. To another moment in our family history.

October 19th, 1936. Chesterfield to Mansfield.

From the 5th to 31st, the Jarrow March took place. 200 men walked 300 miles from the north eastern town of Jarrow to London. Jarrow was like many northern towns in that period. Bleak, stagnant and forgotten. The impact of a world wide depression was hitting this area hard. There was no employment. Unemployment was endemic. In Jarrow the unemployment rate was near 70%. The Government seemingly did not care, blind to the suffering. The Government even blocked loans that would have saved the town’s industries. Rising anger at gross inequality and injustice. The growth of racism and extreme right wing politics.

That was the context as 200 men set off on their crusade. A peaceful and dignified protest, carrying a 12000 signature petition asking for their industry to be reopened. A simple message. We want to work. We want hope.

The marchers were treated as heroes on the route. Galvanised a growing mood in the country. The petition was handed into the government with so much dignity and respect. In the short term the March failed. The Baldwin Conservative Government brushed the march and the petition aside. Clearly in their eyes some people were more equal than others. But in the long run the Jarrow March delivered. It set a new agenda. After the war the new Labour Government set about writing the wrongs. A comprehensive welfare state was introduced. Government with a conscious was established. One that cared for the less fortunate. Sadly a conscious which has started to be unpicked and now unravelled.

We live in a time of rising unemployment. Inequality and injustice are ripe. The growth of extreme politics. Sound familiar. We could learn so much from the Jarrow March. A Crusade marked down in English history. A family history as well. My family was on that march.

31 thoughts on “Jarrow March

  1. It’s heartbreaking… and frustrating to see history repeat itself simply because many refuse to heed past mistakes and take the same path.

    It’s also rage-inducing how so many elected by the masses so quickly forget the needs of those who supported them and align themselves with narrow self-serving agendas.

    In the words of Marvin Gaye, “Make me wanna holler…”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, what an interesting piece of history. Thanks for sharing it. It really is unnerving how history is repeating itself. Give the conservatives anywhere an inch and if you don’t watch carefully they take the proverbial mile. Scary and sad.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I just found this petition being put forward by doctors from around the world who believe these lock-downs must stop. Anyone can sign it as a concerned citizen. I signed. Here is the link for anyone who would like to add their name. https://gbdeclaration.org/
        I hope it works and makes the governments sit up and take notice. I also saw a video of a group of doctors who gathered outside the US Supreme Court building to speak against the lock-down as well. I’m encouraged that so many doctors are taking this up–finally. One group in the Netherlands is going to sue the government.

        Like

  3. This was SO well written, really interesting to read and full of heart Superdad. Good job. It’s sad when people have to march, and governments fail, but inspiring when people stand up for what is right.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very cool bit of British and personal history. Thank you for sharing it. You should be proud! In your own way, you’re carrying on with the same ideals. Still fighting the good fight, Gary Kermit SUPERDAD!
    💌💌💌

    Like

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