Jarrow March

From Academic Kids

During the Great Depression, the people of the North East of England, who were mainly miners and shipworkers, suffered even more than the rest of the country from the prevailing unemployment and poverty. On October 5 1936, 200 men, known as the Jarrow Marchers, set off on a march from Jarrow to London to lobby Parliament. This was the Jarrow Crusade (a term used on banners carried by the marchers) or Jarrow March.

The march was a desperate attempt to find jobs to support Jarrow men and their families. It was also a bid for respect and recognition, not only for the people of Jarrow, but for others in a similar situation all over the country.

The marchers had no resources other than their own determination, and some good boots supplied by the public. During the march, wherever the marchers stopped for the night, the local people found them shelter and provided them with food.

The route they took, with overnight stops, was in 22 legs covering a total of 280.5 mi (451 km) as follows:

Jarrow to Chester le Street – (12 miles)
Chester le Street to Ferry Hill – (12 miles)
Ferry Hill to Darlington – (12 miles)
Darlington to Northallerton – (16 miles)
Northallerton to Ripon – (17 miles)
Ripon to Harrogate – (11½ miles)
Harrogate to Leeds – (15½ miles)
Leeds to Wakefield – (9 miles)
Wakefield to Barnsley – (9¾ miles)
Barnsley to Sheffield – (13½ miles)
Sheffield to Chesterfield – (11¾ miles)
Chesterfield to Mansfield – (12 miles)
Mansfield to Nottingham – (14½ miles)
Nottingham to Loughborough – (15 miles)
Loughborough to Leicester – (11¼ miles)
Leicester to Market Harborough – (14½ miles)
Market Harborough to Northampton – (14½ miles)
Northampton to Bedford – (21 miles)
Bedford to Luton – (19 miles)
Luton to St Albans – (10¼ miles)
St Albans to Edmonton – (11 miles)
Edmonton to Marble Arch, London (8½ miles)

When the marchers arrived in London, almost one month later, a petition of 12,000 signatures was handed into Parliament by Ellen Wilkinson, the Labour MP for Jarrow. The Prime Minister of the day, Stanley Baldwin, refused to see any of the marchers' representatives.

The march achieved little at the time. It was the outbreak of World War II three years later that finally brought sufficient work to Jarrow to relieve the poverty.

The Jarrow March is fondly remembered by those on the left in British politics as a landmark in the history of labour movement.

The last surviving member of the march, Cornelius 'Con' Whalen died on September 17, 2003, aged 93.

In 1974, musician Alan Price, former keyboard player with The Animals, had a solo UK hit with a single of his composition, Jarrow Song, about the march.


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