“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 (£9.99) and kindle (£3.39). Youth hostels... Continue Reading →

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The finest ever

A visit by Tom Fairclough, one of the founding members of YHA, to Germany in 1929 is well recorded. That visit inspired him to found the first youth hostel group in Britain at the end of 1929. Less known are earlier visits by others, that help to show the widespread, grassroots nature of YHA at... Continue Reading →

High hills and holidays

S.P.B. Mais was another prolific writer and promoter of walking and travel. Like Morton, Mais was a journalist, and had also worked on the Daily Express newspaper, as a book reviewer and leader writer. Mais claimed to have walked over most of England. He wanted people to stuff their pockets with maps, “to wander about... Continue Reading →

Health, fitness and funds

Since 2020 the government’s Culture Recovery Fund has awarded more than £2 million to support YHA’s recovery from the impact of Covid. The funding marks the widespread support for youth hostels and their importance to communities. Government support for youth hostels is not new. Amidst increasing concern for the health of the nation with war... Continue Reading →

In Search of England

Tours, travel writing and youth hostels In the 1920s people were flocking to the countryside in greater numbers than ever before, laying the foundations of the youth hostels movement in Britain. One popular journalist blamed roads, coaches and the cheap motor car for the growth in travel. Throwing open to ordinary people regions which had... Continue Reading →

A firm belief in peace

War in the Ukraine and our response remind me of the work of Jack Catchpool to achieve peace in the run up to the Second World War. Despite many of the difficulties he faced and criticisms that can be made of his approach to peace, which at times look like appeasement of the threat, I... Continue Reading →

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