“The definitive history of YHA”

Two books, Richard Schirrmann - the man who invented youth hostels and Open to All - how youth hostels changed the world.  Both are available from Amazon. The biography of Schirrmann is available as a Kindle book £2.50 or paperback £3.99. Open to All is available as a paperback (£9.98) and kindle (£4.99). Youth hostels... Continue Reading →

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Mary Lander

Women, history and hostels #6 Mary Lander was one of the few women at two key meetings which established youth hostels in Britain and Europe. She was one of eight, among 28 men, at the first meeting of a youth hostels association for Britain, in London in April 1930. At that meeting she represented the... Continue Reading →

Edith Bulmer

Women, history and hostels #5 During the first years after the founding of YHA, Edith Bulmer was the most prominent of YHA’s pioneering women. As editor of The Rucksack magazine, the association’s magazine for all its members, she guided and shaped YHA’s new public voice until a scandal shifted her from the scene. A claim... Continue Reading →

Berta Gough

Women, history and hostels #4 We’ve many reasons to be grateful to Berta Gough (above left). She was one of the small band on Merseyside who opened the first youth hostels in Wales, and some of the first in Britain. She took part in early important meetings that set the tone for youth hostels to... Continue Reading →

Connie Alexander

Women, history and hostels #3 Connie Alexander epitomised the best of those who ran youth hostels, a woman with a lively sense of adventure, full of genuine care for others. Wardens, as hostel managers were then known, were hard to find at the beginning. YHA paid them them “a pittance”, about £50 a year, and... Continue Reading →

Dorothy Tomkins

Women, history, hostels #2 When it came to opening youth hostels, women often did the work and Dorothy Tomkins, a young unemployed architectural student, did the work at Winchester. She was unemployed, available and, as an architectural student, equipped with a knowledge of buildings, ideal to furnish and prepare an old mill in Winchester to... Continue Reading →

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