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 →

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 →

Quakers, aid, refugees and hostels

The origins and aims of youth hostels have often been misunderstood. Traditional views have youth hostels emerging from an outdoors movement of walkers and cyclists. This view overlooks the leading role played by Quakers in the pioneering years of youth hostels and the work of its first national secretary, E St John “Jack” Catchpool. Catchpool's... 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 →

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑