Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Marching into History; 80 Years on from the Jarrow Crusade, Two New Exhibitions Recall the Historic March, Writes Dave Morton

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Marching into History; 80 Years on from the Jarrow Crusade, Two New Exhibitions Recall the Historic March, Writes Dave Morton

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Morton

THIS week marks the 80th anniversary of one of the key events that defined Britain in the last century.

On October 5, 1936, 200 men set offfrom Jarrow on a dignified 290-mile march to London.

Their home town was ravaged by unemployment and poverty after the closure of the giant Palmer's shipyard had thrown 10,000 people out of work.

The marchers' demand - as spelled out in a petition of 12,000 signatures - was clear. They wanted work and the re-establishment of industry in the town.

Today, two days before the 80th anniversary of the start of the Jarrow Crusade, a month-long exhibition will open at the town's library.

The photographer and writer, Paul Perry, is behind the pictorial display.

Born and bred in Jarrow, Paul is the author of 19 books, 13 of which focus on the history of the town.

The material for the forthcoming exhibition comes from Paul's incredible personal photographic collection which numbers around 40,000 items.

He says: "Whereas most people are aware of the Jarrow Crusade, some perhaps don't know why it took place.

"When Palmers' shipyard and steelworks which employed the bulk of Jarrow's townsfolk closed in 1934, it was a devastating blow. Whole families and streets found themselves out of work.

"The crusade was a dignified march for work - and a protest against unemployment and poverty."

Ironically, before the closure of Palmer's and the famous crusade, Jarrow had been a relatively prosperous Tyneside town.

"Indeed it was," says Paul. "The order books were full, the pubs were busy, and the shops were busy. The town was thriving."

Eight decades on, Paul feels that Jarrow has long suffered from a negative image perpetrated by the national media in the wake of the 1936 crusade.

"Unfortunately, the stigma remains," he says, "but the reality is that Jarrow is a proud town. Today it's thriving and doing at least as well as any comparable North East town."

A major Jarrow Crusade exhibition in South Shields was also launched at the weekend. …

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