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“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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Escape the past

Youth hostels have grown up. Once you wouldn’t have spoken of hostels without calling them old fashioned and out of date. Now hostels have thrown off their shackles and appeared afresh and new. I love the way a new generation has discovered the idea. You can read a contemporary take on youth hostels below, where... Continue Reading →

Working for peace

Image courtesy HINI In the offices of the youth hostels association of Northern Ireland (HINI), they hold an album of photos, in old brown fabric. The album is full of pictures taken in a post-war world out of which people climbed, away from the horrors of total war, holocaust and nuclear armageddon. The people in... Continue Reading →

The miracle has been achieved

“A hostel where each night will gather nearly 200 young people from all parts of the world who are exploring Britain, or on their way abroad to explore some other country…” The Youth Hosteller of June 1959 crowed with pleasure at the opening of a new youth hostel in London, on the edge of Holland... Continue Reading →

New Catchpool archive

A hand-list of the papers of Jack Catchpool at Lancaster University library is now available. Egerton St John Pettifor Catchpool was a Quaker, aid worker and first secretary of the Youth Hostels Association. His papers, deposited at Lancaster University library, have not previously been listed. The hand-list can be downloaded at the end of this... Continue Reading →

Boxes, bombs and treasure

Just when I thought I had finished, three boxes came along and knocked all my plans down like skittles. I've been writing about Jack Catchpool, first secretary of the Youth Hostels Association, and his life of adventure and travel, for two and a half years. A complete first draft was done. I had a bit... Continue Reading →

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