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Dorothy Tomkins

Women, history, hostels #2 When it came to opening youth hostels, women often did the work like architecture student, Dorothy Tomkins, who led the work at Winchester. She was unemployed, available and, with a good knowledge of buildings, was ideal to furnish and prepare an old mill to be one of Britain’s first youth hostels.... Continue Reading →

No one but a desperate woman

Women, hostels, history #1 Gwen Moffat wrote that “No one but a desperate woman”* would have gone to work at the remote Ro Wen youth hostel in Snowdonia in 1952. Each morning, after the hostellers left, she washed sheet sleeping bags used the night before. She repaired Primus stoves, storm lanterns and Tilley lamps, almost... Continue Reading →

Steps Bridge, a bit of personal history

I dreamed of running ‘my own’ youth hostel. When a couple of youth hostel jobs in the south-west of England came vacant and the region was looking for new wardens, I applied. A gang of us, prospective wardens in our mid 20s, toured the empty properties. We picked them over and smelled the damp, before... Continue Reading →

A good war

A short history of youth hostels and the second world war. As youth hostels define a role for themselves, in the crisis of Covid 19, here's a look at their history in an earlier crisis, which may or may not be helpful, as the times and the challenges faced then were very different to those... Continue Reading →

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