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

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Adopting an organisation

People were impatient for youth hostels in Britain by 1930. Germany had started its hostel movement in 1909. But in Britain, it was unclear how youth hostels would open, as different people in different areas took different approaches. A group on Merseyside was looking for hostels in North Wales while from London, the first secretary... Continue Reading →

Recreating journeys

Three cyclists set off from Glasgow in October, recreating the journey taken by three sisters in 1936.  Along the way the sisters encountered friendliness and hospitality, met and made new friends, had punctures and accidents, and the sun burned them until they were red as lobsters. Many others took similar journeys and some, like Mary... Continue Reading →

Membership card no 5

YHA’s archive recently received the kind donation of a rare membership card from 1931 along with valuable information about an early youth hostel in Devon. The Plymouth and District Regional group issued its card no 5 to Blyth Palk, one of 78 who joined YHA in 1931 in that region. Palk went on to marry... Continue Reading →

Long sustainable youth hostels

“Hordes of hikers … people, wherever there is water, upon sea shores or upon river banks … stinking disorderly dumps of tins, bags and cartons bear witness to the tide of invasion…” Sounds familiar, the kind of complaint made about the visitors invading the countryside and coast today, demonstrating how unsustainable our ways of travel... Continue Reading →

A fashion for England

In 1932 YHA aimed to make touring affordable by creating circuits and chains of hostels especially for young people like Hilary Hughes and her friend Margaret who toured through Hampshire and the New Forest that year. [1] They were part of a fashion for travel, to discover Britain, which arose after the first world war.... Continue Reading →

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