The jarrow crusade
In October 1936, a group of 200 men from the north-eastern town of Jarrow marched 300 miles to London. They wanted Parliament, and the people in the south, to understand that they were orderly, responsible citizens, but were living in a region where there were many difficulties, and where there was 70 per cent unemployment - leading one of the marchers to describe his home town in those days as '...a filthy, dirty, falling down, consumptive area.'

So contrary to popular belief it was NOT a hunger march but a march for JOBS.


NO WRITTEN history of Britain in the 20th Century will fail to feature the Jarrow March. Or Crusade, if you prefer its proper title.

A near 300-mile tramp that was was started on the thirteenth of october 1936 by 200 men who, in many instances, could not afford shoes. Indeed, local cobblers on the route often freely repaired the marchers' footwear. Not a few wellwishers offered a change of shoes or boots. Still, the men's feet, like the rest of their hard-pressed bodies, would be sorely tested by the long slog.

Its obvious mission as Crusade was a desperate bid for work: jobs to support Jarrow men and their families. But it meant more than that. It was a crusade for respect, for recognition that they, and by implication all in a similar plight elsewhere, were human beings of equal worth to any in the land. And though it achieved little at the time, with only the outbreak of war, three years after the March in 1936, finally bringing the work to relieve the poverty, it has entered our culture as one of of the defining moments, alongside the Peasants Revolt of 1381 and Tolpuddle Martyrs of 1834, in the emancipation of "ordinary" citizens. The extensive packages of help now put in place following a big industrial shutdown are rooted firmly in the Jarrow Crusade


The people in the north-east of the country, miners and shipworkers especially, were suffering even more than the rest of the country and banded together and decided to send a party of marchers to London to lobby Parliament. These were known as the Jarrow Marchers. They had no resources other than their own determination – perhaps better described as 'guts', and some good boots supplied by public subscription. During the march, wherever they stopped for the night, the local populace found shelter for them for the night and provided them with food. Rushden was on their route and they stopped outside the Compass public house at mid-day on a Sunday, just as people were getting their Yorkshire puddings from the bakehouse. The people of the 'top end' (as that part of Little Street was known), immediately took their puddings to the marchers and gave them a good meal. This kind of thing happened all over the country.

The route and the overnight stops they took is as follows: Jarrow to Chester le Street - 12 miles, Ferry Hill - 12 miles, Darlington- 12 miles, Northalton - 16 Miles, Ripon - 17 and a half miles, Harrogate - 11 and a half miles, Leeds 15 and a half miles, Wakefield - 9 miles, Barnsley - 9 and three quarter miles, Sheffield - 13 and a half miles, Chesterfield - 11 and three quarter miles, Mansfield - 12 miles, Nottingham - 14 and a half miles, Loughbro - 15 miles, Leciester - 11 and a quarter miles, Market Harbrough - 14 and a half miles, Northampton - 14 and a half miles, Bedford - 21 miles, Luton - 19 miles, St Albions 10 and a quarter miles, Edmunton -11 miles, London Marble Arch 8 and a half miles.

On arrival at their destination 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 then Tory Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, refused even to see any of the marchers' representatives; they returned home by train with no reward other than sympathy.


[TABLE]Abbott W| 63 High Street
Allison James| 26 Back Stanley Street
Anderson Samuel| 18 Derby Street
Badger A| 74 Western Road
Barr R. H| 21 Nansen Street
Beatie William| 20 Morpeth Avenue
Benstead Charles| 24 Duke Street
Birdis J 15| George Street
Blamire W . H.| 27 Beaufront Terrace
Boak John |40 Ferry Street
Bone W |16 Berkley Street
Bothwick John |2 James Street Hebburn
Bradley Jos |48 Union Street
Bray W .E. |4 South Street
Brown John |72 Ferry Street
Brown Martin |3 South Street
Brown S |14 Blenkinsop Grove
Browne John |368 High Street
Browne John |17 Chipchase Terrace
Bryce John |54 monkton road
Burn Robert |22 Morpeth Avenue
Calaghan E |17 Ecgfrid Terrace
Cameron W.S. |6 Chipchase Terrace
Canavan P |70 South Street
Canhem Robert |53 Blacket Street
Clark Donald |91 High Street Back
Conner William |8 Witton Gardens
Connoly W |40 Albion Street
Convery Thomas |31 Stanley Street
Corr Tosh|
Coulter W |61 Back North Street
Cox Dennis |13 Back South Street
Coyle J |20 Commercial Road
Coyne Frances |26 Charles Street
Croll A |25 Beaufront Terrace
Cruikshank George |39 Howard Street
Cusick P |229 High Street
Davis George |7 Paper Mill Cottages
Davison James |65 South Street
Davison Richard |51 Salem Street
Dean Stan |66 Cobden Street
Delvin John |54 Walter Street
Delvin Patrick |30 Milton Street
Dixon Charles |272 High Street
Dodds Joseph |8 Bridge Street
Doughty N |96 Queens Road
Downey Thomas |46 Stanley Street
Duffy John |47 Albion Street
Duffy W |70 Langley Terrace
Duggan Alex |59 Buddle Street
Errington C. |8 Duke Street
Errington Cuthbert |27 Catherine Street
Fairweather F |6 Beaufront Terrace
Farndale John |25 Clyde Street
Fitzgerald Edward |10 Bladen Street
Fitzpatrick F |26 Pearson Place
Flannery Andrew |20 Ecgfrid Terrace
Flynn T. P. |61 McIntyre Street
Foggin J |23 Staple Street
Graham Micheal |1 George Street
Graham S. N. |28 Wear Street
Guy H. L. |6 Back Alfred Street
Hamilton James |6 Dury Lane Back
Hanlon James |14 Salem Street
Harding T |38 James Street
Harney J. J. |3 Lime Street
Harris F.B. |87 Ellison Street
Hill G |145 Salem Street
Hillock John James |40 Charles Street
Hobbs James |114 Queens Road
Howard J |14 Princess Street
Howe F |7 Lime Street
Hutchinson J |67 South Street
James Wm |63 South Street
Johnson R |108 High Street
Jones J |15 George Street
Joyce Martin |362 High Street
Keegan Andrew |1 South Street Back
Kelly A |63 Blackett Street
Kelly John |16 Stanley Street
Kelly P |66 Cambrian Street
Longstaff |G 135 Western Road
Lydon V |15 Back South Street
Malloy H |3 Milton Street
Martin H |38 Clayton Street
Maughan R |58 Ferry Street
McArar Robert |19 Edgar Street
McCann John |9 Dunn Street
McCaulay Luke |20 Cambrian Street
McCauley J |42 Cambrian Street
McCormella John |40 Newmarch Street
McCourt H |5 George Street
McCourt John |21 Union Street
McCullough James |6 Witton Gardens
McDermot M |9 Albion Street
McGary John |9 Lord Street
McGee Philip |13 Leopold Street
McGhee James |382 Back North Street
McGow Wm J |5 George Street Back
McGraw John |17 Prince Consort Road
McGregor C |6 station street
McGuckin Andrew |9 Princess Street
McGuckin F |380 High Street
McGuckin Felix |358 High Street
McKenna A |72 Queens Road
McKenna D |43 High Street
McKenna Hugh |30 Palmer Street
McLaughlin Micheal |32 Albion Street
McLennon W |33 back union street
McMahon J |73 Back monkton Road
McNulty J |6 Morpeth Avenue
McShane Anthony |104 Ferry Street Back
McShane W |42 Pearson Place
McStavick Thomas |104 Grange Road Back
Melia Thomas |23 Albion Street
Miller John |188 High Street
Mills James |98 Queens Road
Mogie Henry 3|8 Milton Street
Mogie Robert |44 Milton Street
Mullen A |51 South Street
Mullen Thomas |14 Stanley Street
Murphy J. |12 Blenkinsop Grove
Murray Hugh |7 Napier Street
Murray J |21 Thirwell Grove
Nedham S. |107 Ferry Street
Nudd L |63 Monkton Road
O'Donnell John P. |4 Beaufront Terrace
Pearce A |82 Western Road
Pennock George Robert |17 Alfred Street
Porter J. G |58 Back Ferry Street
Potts Albert |82 High Street
Potts Wm |52 Albion Street
Poulbs Edward |15 Napier Street
Pow George |151 Albert Road
Power E. W |8 Berkley Street
Proudlock J. D. |7 Ellison Street Back
Pygall W |8 Swinbourne Terrace
Queenan Martin Edward |8 Curry Street
Ramshaw D |88 Hope Street
Rannigan William |41 High Street
Richardson J.F. |58 Caledonian Road
Richardson William |43 Ferry Street
Robb John R. |4 Ferry Street Back
Robb W |4 Ferry Street
Robinson R |7 Stanley Street
Robinson T |85 High Street
Rogers John |66 High Street
Rumford T |28 Grange Road West
Sarsfield M |37 Monkton Terrace
Scott E |16 Swinbourne Terrace
Scott J |87 Back High Street
Scott Robert |43 Norham Terrace
Sewell Albert |13 Back Ferry Street
Shaw H.C |30 North Street
Shearer G. J. |193 High Street
Shiels C |23 Caledonian Road
Simpson J. B. |70 Cobden Street
Smith George |Simpson Hostel
Smith Ralph |28 High Street
Spence J |77 Monkton Terrace
Stead Edward |40 Derby Street
Stephenson J. R. |27 Beaufront Terrace
Stevenson Benjamin |45 back Ferry Street
Symonds J. |181 Albert Road
Taylor G |1 Cobden Street
Thornton F |10 Back Alfred Street
Tiffin John |41 Cobden Street
Turner J |21 Back Hibernian Road
Usher H |5 Queens Road
Vincent J |50 Pearson Place
Walker G |41 Stead Street
Walters James H. |29 North Street Back
Ward B |32 Albion Street Back
Welsh Micheal |23 Short Row
Welsh P |13 Keilder Gardens
Welsh Wm |3 Newmarch Street
Whalen C |12 Princess Street
Whalen John |80 Western Road
Whalen P. P. |113 Back Western Road
White J |68 Ferry Street
Willis J. G. |34 Dene Terrace
Wilmer F |1 Swinbourne Terrace
Wilson M |35 Princess Street
Winship Robert |13 Franklin Street
Young Chas |52 Albion Street

The people in Jarrow are so demoralized, unknown to themselves, that they are eating out of the hands of these people. They are now nothing more than what might be called parasites. If we put this case before the public it cannot be denied. We have the highest death rate in the country. Infantile mortality is the second highest and the Public Assistance Committee allowances are certainly highest. Our rates dropped by ten thousand pounds in the last six years. If the appalling conditions that exist in the town are put before the public any decent man can't help feeling for Jarrow If they could see. as I do as chairman of the PAC, the terrible hardship there is in the town they would feel like bowing their heads in their hands in shame. There have been many times when I have been on the verge of weeping at the depth to which people have been driven I am not so ready as I was to support an ordinary march to London. I am willing enough to march, God knows, and there was a time when I would have suggested that we put the women and children on buses while the men of the town marched with the Council at their head. But now I think we should get down to London with a couple of bombs in our pockets. Oh Christ, yes, I am perfectly serious. We should go down there with bombs in our pockets. These people of Westminster have no use for us anyway. These people do not realize that there are people living in Jarrow today under conditions which a respectable farmer would not keep swine. Do not put any limits on your demonstration. Get down there. And I think we should go to the absolute extreme. If it was good to march to London two or I three years ago it is good to march now. We must do something so outrageous it will make the country sit up. If people in other distressed areas like Wales London with us we should be such an army that the government could stem the tide by only one shooting us down.It is a wicked shame that ten or twelve men hold up town like this... Very much the same people are behind the shipyard problems as are behind the refusal to allow the steelworks.
- Councillor Dodds



Born in 1891, Ellen Cicely Wilkinson was educated at the Ardwick Higher Grade School. At the age of 24 she was the women's organiser of the Co-operative Employees, eventually gaining pre-eminence within NUDAW - a shopworkers' union. After being active in the women's sufferage movement she was elected as Labour member of Middlesbrough East in 1924. Identified with the far left, in fact Wilkinson was involved with various forms of labour movement activism. She was a tough character and resilient to jibes as both an orator and hardened union negotiator. She lost her seat in 1931. In 1935 she was elected MP for Jarrow, a seat she held until her death in 1947. In 1936 she was one of the leaders of the Jarrow March.


Ellen fought and won the municipal election of 1923 and became a Labour councilor. She was an exceedingly able speaker even in these early days and was particularly good at open-air meetings. Her small figure, generally dressed in green, and her hatless flaming hair made a bright spot of colour in the drab Gorton streets. She was well to the left of the official Labour policy and this, while winning much support from the rank and file of the Gorton electorate, did her no good with the executive body. She had the quality of arousing personal affection and devotion as a public figure. To thousands of men and women in the Labour Party she was known as "Our Ellen" and remained so until the end of her life. The "Top Brass", if such an expression may be used of the Labour Party Officials, only accepted her with reluctance and she won her way into their counsels by sheer weight of personality, hard work, and ability.
She worked very hard during the second World War, going personally down the London Underground, which were used as air-raid shelters during the bonbing of the Capital. Ellen was there giving sympathy and consolation where it was needed.
Ellen suffered from Asthma and sometimes became quite ill, her sister was her support and prop during these severe bouts of illness.

She died after taking an overdose of medicine to alleviate an asthma attack. The Ellen Wilkinson High School in Ardwick, Manchester is named in her honour.



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Excellent thread about the Jarrow Crusade...cheers Jarraman.......Smile and like you said the March was for Jobs...Cait
Cheers. Its our History.
Thanks for that thread Jarraman, it things like that what makes me love this site
Thank you. Admin done a lot as well. Big Grin
He's too modest Mary, I only help format the table of names, Jarraman done most of the graft. Is a good post mind.
You can take the lad out of Jarrow but you can't take Jarrow out of the lad.
Has anyone got relatives among the marchers?
Two of them were uncles of mine:- John Boak and Bob Burn.
I dont Pat but I can remember a couple of them.

Most of the names are also very familiar.
When you think about it. Even with todays high levels of nutrition and health. Not to mention scientifically designed footwear, I wouldn't like to walk to London even with a back up team. You just have to say these men were made of steel and hats off to every one of them.:grouphug:
One who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; one who does not ask a question remains a fool forever
Apparently my Granddad played in the band that lead them out of Jarrow.

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