Long in the tooth and intriguing


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Reception at Bigbury-on-Sea (photo courtesy YHA Archive)

The YHA Archive has recently acquired a very special item – a spiral bound typewritten personal memoir of Charles Allen, one of the pioneer organisers of the YHA in Devon and Cornwall from the 1930s to the 1960s.

John Martin, YHA’s Honorary Archivist, writes that it dates from the late 1970s.

Charles Allen, was Regional Secretary and ‘fixer’ for establishing new properties in Devon and Cornwell, and lists in his memoir humorous and original accounts of how almost all the hostels of that era on his patch were acquired by YHA.

John has recently finished transcribing the 65-page memoir for the Archive, so you can now read about the acquisition of some 40 Devon and Cornwall hostels, written from Allen’s detailed and witty, if occasionally hazy, memory.

Many of the old hostels will be unknown to most readers, John says.  “You may be as intrigued by Aveton Gifford, Trevellas and Otterham as I am – but there are also long-in-the-tooth regulars: Land’s End, Penzance, Treyarnon Bay, Tintagel, Boscastle and so on.”

You can read the full transcript by clicking on the following link Y410012 Memoirs of Charles Allen copy 2

John has included a few illustrations from the dustiest recesses of the Archive of probably long-forgotten hostels mentioned in the Memoirs.

If you’d like more information about YHA’s Archive leave a comment below.


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