“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 (£9.98) and kindle (£4.99). Youth hostels... Continue Reading →

Len Clark was a young Londoner in 1939. When Europe lost all reason and lurched into war in September he had drifted into the pacifist camp. He debated the rights and wrongs of war, took long walks in the countryside and listened to his gramophone for solace. I love diaries. Diaries and letters offer the... 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 →

Best foot forward – a youth hostel play

If you see the funny side of youth hostels, Best Foot Forward is for you: acute, astute, astoundingly funny and well put together. Maeve Larkin, the writer, knows youth hostels and because she knows her duties, her sausages and her members, she gets it just right. The cast is wonderful and the story charts the... Continue Reading →

A trip to Scotland

This month, a trip to Scotland and walks along the Spey... and plenty of time to reflect on the travels and adventures of Jack Catchpool, YHA's first national secretary. For me, there's no finer stimulus for creative thinking than long train journeys and walking. My journeys were easier than Catchpool's. He took some truly terrible... Continue Reading →

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