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 →

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 →

In search of the Bedford Institute

A sunny Saturday afternoon in April and the FA cup is into semi finals. When I get off the bus, football supporters are making a racket outside Liverpool Street station. They're either Spurs or Chelsea supporters, I have no idea which, and either way passers by are scurrying, trying not to be intimidated. I haven't... Continue Reading →

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