A celebration

I've searched for a photo of the YHA celebrations at Ashridge Park in Hertfordshire, that marked YHA's 21st birthday in 1950, for a long time. And, when I least expected it, one turned up... The photo shows Jack Catchpool, YHA's first national secretary and the equivalent of today's chief executive, seated on the left of... Continue Reading →

YHA, the right to vote and young people

Democracy is coming to the YHA. Not as Leonard Cohen imagined, with a driving drum and a rousing chorus but democracy all the same. One-member-one-vote democracy. After the Youth Hostels Association's annual meeting in London on Saturday 30 June, from next year all members over-16 will be able to vote in elections to YHA’s Board... Continue Reading →

Radical roots

Chatting to a reporter from the BBC last week while taking part in an interview about the history of youth hostels, I was reminded that youth hostels were radical when they began and how much work had to be done to secure their future in 1930. Youth hostels are such a part of life for... Continue Reading →

People loved collecting hostel stamps whenever they stayed at a hostel. Not only were some stamps collector's items, being works of art in themselves, but they were a record of where people stayed, prompting recollections, competition, and banter. Here's a lovely set from during the second world war, when the stamps were simple, just the... Continue Reading →

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