News from the YHA Archive

May was an exciting and productive month for John Martin, YHA's honorary archivist. John writes about YHA's archive and its latest acquisitions and boxes and boxes of old records from the Lake District in this report. He came back from a recent trip to the Lake District laden with old files of fascinating material and... Continue Reading →

A letter from Ramsay MacDonald

A letter from Ramsay MacDonald, the first Labour Party prime minister, turned up in old papers this week. The pages on which it was written are stiff, thick and yellow with age. An old fashioned treasury tag holds the typewritten pages together, and the paper smells faintly of decay. It slipped from a bundle of... Continue Reading →

People loved collecting hostel stamps whenever they stayed at a hostel. Not only were some stamps collector's items, being works of art in themselves, but they were a record of where people stayed, prompting recollections, competition, and banter. Here's a lovely set from during the second world war, when the stamps were simple, just the... Continue Reading →

In search of the Bedford Institute

A sunny Saturday afternoon in April and the FA cup is into semi finals. When I get off the bus, football supporters are making a racket outside Liverpool Street station. They're either Spurs or Chelsea supporters, I have no idea which, and either way passers by are scurrying, trying not to be intimidated. I haven't... Continue Reading →

Cold, hard and noisy – beds!

In their early days youth hostel beds were sometimes appalling. People paid a shilling a night, and slept in a bed that could be cold, hard, noisy, and made of anything that came to hand. But that was because youth hostels offered more than a cheap bed. The hostel at Holmfirth in Yorkshire in 1935... Continue Reading →

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