What made youth hostels, the history, people and ideas behind them, the things that did and still do make hostels special. And other stuff too, along the way.
Open To All charts the story of youth hostels from their beginning in 1930. Written by an insider, who worked for the Youth Hostels Association of England and Wales for more than thirty years, the book offers a definitive history of the fascinating organisation that changed people’s lives.
Richard Schirrmann invented youth hostels. His idea grew through two world wars, the rise of the Nazis and economic depression to cover the world. He wanted the best for young people, and never built his idea into a brand, never sold it to anyone. He was a volunteer and an amateur in the best sense of the word.
Header image for the site is courtesy of Gillian Hutchison and John Martin, and shows a walking group in North Wales, c 1932, with Tom and Ena Fairclough (third and fourth from the left). Tom became the first secretary of the Merseyside youth hostels’ group.