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.

39 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

  3. It’s sad how governments often ignore the most needy yet they never have their paychecks stopped whatever the economy looks like. Thank the Lord for people willing to stand up and fight for what is right.

    Liked by 3 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.
        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.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yeah . Well? Why would you trash an economy or anything else? Biggest whatt is going on of the week up here??? Well they are people up here 50 quid a week (if u are really stuck for cash why not ??) to take part in the ONS survey. Despite the fact that we are all being told up here in Scotland this virus is so dangerous we cannot have our families into our houses we pay for, AND not a single person can see a nurse for the most basic things you see a nurse for, a nurse will come out indoors INTO your house each week having been in god knows how many before you and do a corona test. I kid you not. And then before we get to the survey– the next part of this, or how obscene it is that there’s people driving miles for a test, with secondary conditions and not in the best of health, giving up waiting after standing an hour in pouring rain in a queue where they just might be infecting others , ..well is it that contagious or not,. ,And hey they already have respiratory probs…, then being phoned to say they are positive despite having had no test. So smiling at those I know who are on this survey and taking the 50 quid a week,(first week) 25 thereafter, and fiddling the survey about who they have seen and where .(Rendering it invalid I’d say ) Must be banking that dosh to eventually pay their fines should one of their tests be positive and then..? Well in terms of where they were and who they saw that is sure gonna be a space worth watching. It beggars belief. And really it does make me wonder . Are we really being asked to believe not one journalist or politician has any sense about half these measures ??? The central belt in Scotland for example? Shut down the pubs, the eateries cos it is plague ridden but not the transport outwith. Just saying.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Was seeing some independent stats that said that only 3% of infections are due to hospitality. Yet they attack that area. Schools and Universities account for 25% of infections. Offices 25%. But they are ok…. Definitely an agenda here. And not a good one.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. There was some article in on the papers recently …what Scotland could ..emphasis on could…look like in the year 2050. This was rural areas, small town , towns and cities. And it was all from some fancy Edinburgh architect’s designs which are available online. Interestingly there was not a single, theatre, cinema, cafe, eaterie of any kind, bar, church either, it was all very vague about intergenerational living and sharing everything including accomodation. Garages and lock ups would be for artisans to use as workshops to make goods the people would transport on the rivers in a sailboat, we would all be growing our own food, on our roofs in many instances and be cycling everywhere on specially designed tracks. Now while I am in total agreement that we need to take onboard climate change this vision was of utter totalitarian hell. Our friends live in Edinburgh. They woke up one day to find that the council had painted double lines all over the area, closed off streets to make things one way, and added cycle tracks in an area of low traffic where there actually there is nowhere to cycle to. They live on this big bu quiet carriageway This was done by Edinburgh City Council without any warning or consultation, under the guise of Corona emergency Every single resident and councillor has complained Thousands has been knocked off the value of these houses because there is now no onstreet parking. But hey that’s okay cos in the future if you read this ‘plan’ we are not going to be owning houses any more either. prob even the biz of their family with young kids visiting right now, where they could do with parking at my friends’ door, is irrelevant since in this brave new Scotland being rolled out on a daily basis before our eyes, we are not allowed to see our families anyway (Aye right) And we are asked every day to believe that this is all normal and in the name of some virus where right now according to the figures, roughly 350 have died under 65. and it seems to depend on just science is being listened to. As for the schools here which have run abso fine in our area??? Well see?? They are now breaching the law in terms of having the windows open temp wise in a workplace but the windows are open on gove instructions. Watching the space to see how it will break Swinney and Sturgeon’s hearts to have to close the schools but oh dear close they must. After all if kids are going to drawing water and cutting wood and making little feudal goods in their workshops, do they really need to be educated??? So yeah something not right.


      4. That’s the whole thing. So many agenda in play here and not just a pandemic. That’s almost a side issue, an excuse to push through other changes. The pandemic will form an easy thing to blame for hard brexit, plus it makes it easier to push through quicker. It also allows the the destruction of public services and the passing of public funds to private sector friends. We and our kids are irrelevant in that process.


  4. 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

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