From Rushden to Snoot and back again

John Martin is YHA’s honorary archivist and in this post he writes about an exciting new gift to the YHA archive.

Y050001-Jerusalem 501 400-10 negY
Jerusalem Farm, Lancs, open 1940 – 54, archive image courtesy YHA.

Every so often we receive for the Archive a really special account of hostelling in the old days, in the form of a holiday log.

David Bayes has just passed to us his account of a cycle tour from Rushden in Northamptonshire to Snoot youth hostel in the Scottish Borders and back, staying at nine youth hostels. It is something special, and relates in great detail his day to day experiences of his trip in August 1949. At the time, he recorded the events in an old exercise book, and has just written up his account for our benefit.

David explained how amazing it was to him that the original account written in an old exercise book of browning utility paper has sparked such a lot of interest.

“We emigrated to Australia as £10 “poms” in 1963, sailing to Brisbane via the Suez Canal and later returned to England at the end of 1967 sailing back via the Panama Canal so that the exercise book is well-travelled but still intact,” David says.

His account is packed with interesting detail of a very different Britain, and I know you will love it.

It’s a treasure of social history in 1949, outlining such varied things as the state of British roads, hostels, diet and the press.

It also includes his day by day account of spending. For instance, one day he spent: a Daily Mirror in Wolsingham 1d (½p), Fish and chips and rice pudding in café in Hexham 2s 2d (11p), Half cost of supplies at Ridsdale – Weetabix (small box), Potatoes – tin of ready-to-eat apples (5½p), Half cost of bottle of mineral and large loaf from warden at Snoot Youth Hostel 5d (2p). Total for day. 3s 9d (19p).

You can read the whole of David’s log by clicking on the following link: Y600044 David Bayes Cycle Tour log 1949

We’ve also added YHA archive images of long-closed hostels visited by David. You can find out more about the YHA Archive here. The archive has thousands of copyright hard copy images of hostels and hostelling to view at the Cadbury Research Library, all catalogued. In many cases a single private copy or photograph may be taken where there is no copyright issue, for personal use only.

If you’d like more information about or can contribute to the YHA Archive, please use the contact form or leave a comment below.

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