The Jarrow March

October 5: The Jarrow March (1936)

Eighty-three years ago today, over 200 men started marching to London from the town of Jarrow, about 300 miles away, along with their MP, Ellen “Red Ellen” Wilkinson. They marched for 22 days, often in rain and wind, protesting the economic devastation caused to the North East of England by the closing of shipbuilding and related industries during the 1930s.

Here are some of the Jarrow marchers, in the Commons, thanks to the National Media Museum:

Jarrow Marchers en route to London, National Media Museum

They carried a petition with thousands of signatures in an oak box; along the way, sympathetic local organizations and town councils fed and housed the men. (There was also a group of blind men marching with the Jarrow marchers, with similar economic concerns; the event is sometimes called the “Jarrow and Blind Marches” for this reason.)

Their protest was not immediately successful; they turned in the petition to the House of Commons, but the Prime Minister refused to meet with the men, and no provisions were made for relief in the North East. Each man was given a pound for train fare home.

The last of the original Jarrow marchers died in 2003; this month, to mark the 83rd anniversary of the event, a group called Youth Fight for Jobs is planning to recreate the march, bringing attention to unemployment during another economic crisis. Today there is a pub named for the marchers in Jarrow, and several monuments to their efforts.

Sandymount Castle, Dublin

Here’s another fine Flickr Commons tale. The National Library of Ireland has developed an extraordinarily committed (and funny!) group of commenters who are tenacious when there’s a mystery to solve. Headlines, automobile models, even clock faces are studied and analyzed to identify the unidentified.

Last November, a group of early 20c. images from the Fergus O’Connor Collection were uploaded to Indi Commons, and one was only called “Large house, with a clock tower and crenelated rooftop, in an unknown location.” For ten months, the location remained unknown, but comments and guesses kept arriving–two pages worth! Was it in Cork? A film set, perhaps, or a convent?

Well, this is Sandymount Castle in Dublin. The view in the photo is a thing of the past. Castle Park was built here in the 1950s or 60s.