Hostel work, Gwen Moffat and Rowen

Rowen - photo by Gwen Moffat, courtesy YHA Archive at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham. While qualifying as a mountain guide, the first British woman to do so, Gwen Moffat worked at the youth hostel at Rowen in North Wales in 1952. I wrote about her experience in my history of YHA, Open to... Continue Reading →

Pushing the boat out

Different people in different places, through the winter of 1929 / 1930 were trying to start youth hostels. None was making progress until the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) took a hand. The NCSS was the ideal sponsor for the new venture. Today, it’s the National Council of Voluntary Organisations. Beginning in March 1919,... Continue Reading →

What’s brewing

News about what I've been up to How do you improve lives? When life for many in our society does not seem to be getting better and probably worse, when inequality is growing, when lives are getting meaner and communities more shrivelled, it came as a bolt from the blue to realise that others had... Continue Reading →

Malham – a family affair

The youth hostel at Malham is a lasting testament to one man and the history of his wider family’s long association with youth hostels.  John Dower, a local architect, designed the hostel in 1937. He also designed the youth hostels at Eskdale in Cumbria and at Bellingham in Northumberland. He achieved a wider reputation when... Continue Reading →

Hostels coming to the USA

Two cyclists and a bluebird from the YHA (England and Wales) handbook of 1942. Isabel Bacheler Smith designed them for the American youth hostel’s magazine The Knapsack. She founded the youth hostels association of the USA with her husband Monroe. In the summer of 1933 Isabel and Monroe Smith toured Germany with a group of Boy... Continue Reading →

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