For the last few years we have been doing small, well….very small, exhibitions in the wood and glass display cabinet in a little room on the top floor. Below are the transcripts of Dave’s writings for some of these. At present, the cabinet stands on a unique lectern we commissioned (for another purpose) from Malcolm David Smith, to whose quite amazing workshop and showroom in Cromford we strongly recommend a visit!
Did we do wrong? The Library of Sawn-off Books!
Success in the second-hand book trade means that you can buy good books at twice the rate you can sell them! What to do with the rest? Scarthin Books, now established for some 32 years, used to manage by opening a new room every two or three years – now there are (about) twelve, and no more room for opening rooms. Having a strong environmental conscience, we tried COMPOSTING spare volumes in a “Millenium” books compost bin.. After four years, the resulting grey clay-with-pages (“try harder” exhorted one fragment plucked at random) proved to have lead and zinc concentrations of several hundred parts per million, so the experiment was discontinued -but not before establishment of the “Jubilee” and “Saddam Hussein” compost bins, with which we are also lumbered – can we grow roses in the stuff? In book trade mythology, clients are supposed often to want books “by the yard” to fill bookcases, but in practice this hardly ever happens, so it was a welcome surprise when local joiner (and demon rock-guitarist) “Phil Atko” asked us to quote him for 60 metres of hardback books! Sixty metres! – 200 feet, 2000+ books! No problem!! What an opportunity to clear out those plays of Shaw, novels of Dickens, all that theology, the Friesian herd-books,the collected works of Dennis Wheatley, Somerset Maugham and Thackeray, biographies of Gladstone and Macmillan, the Letters of Virginia Woolf, “Life on Earth”, “Changing Places”, “Pole to Pole”. Oh, and those two hundred volumes of HANSARD, in which there has been not a glimmer of interest!
“There’s one thing I must tell you, Dave -I don’t actually need the whole books, I only need the spines. I’m going to saw them off and throw away the pages -does that make a difference to you?” Well it didn’t- should it have? -, though we were sceptical of how and whether Phil could do it. “Don’t worry, I’ve worked it all out- I can trim off ten spines a minute, glue them onto strips of cloth, roll up the strips…!” he was right, and on Monday, last day of the school holidays, I took the children over to Shottle Hall Country House Hotel ,away from it all in the hills north of Derby, to see the finished job . Partner James Davis wanted a library, but the room available was too small for full-sized bookcases, so the shelves have been built only 50 millimetres deep. The original idea was to commission sham book spines from a bookbinder, but when this proved an expensive option, Phil, who had panelled and shelved the room, offered to do the job for half the price with “real” books The result is whimsical (among the sawn-off biographies is one of David Beckham), provocative (neither bestsellers nor great literature have escaped the saw) – and beautiful! There is even a secret door. Meanwhile, at Scarthin Books we are full up again, and Atko’s saw is hungry. Does anyone else want a library of ABRIDGED BOOKS? DJM 28th. September 2006
P.S. We are not Alone in applying loving craftsmanship to the substance of literature. Oh taste and see what the Tree of Knowledge has to offer!
Pinning the Tail on the Donkey
A preliminary analysis of some aspects of the development of the children’s birthday party as depicted in juvenile literature in the second half of the (late-lamented) twentieth century.
Here in Scarthin Books we can take the long view, though probably with bleary eyes. Staff range in age from 60 to 16 and children’s books with dates spanning 150 years or so arrive here every week. Children’s books have always included a wealth of historical and fantastical tales, of fairies or idealised public schools – latterly of both together – but a substantial proportion of picture storybooks for very young children depict with insight and affection the changing fashions and pre-occupations of their own times. The narratives relate to the everyday world of the children and share jokes and social comment with parents and teachers. Classic authors and series includeConstance Heward’s Ameliaranne stories from the 1930’s and 40’s, Ladybird readers from the 50’s, Topsy and Tim in the 60’s, the explosion of Picture Puffins in the 70’s, Postman Pat,Janet and Alan Ahlberg and Quentin Blake in the 80’s and, dominating school-reading in the 90’s, the Oxford Reading Tree. Not to mention Percy the Park-Keeper, Raymond Briggs, Shirley Hughes and the dozens of other inspiringcharacters, illustrators and writers who have made the illustrated children’s story book one of only two great schools of British literature since the war – the other being satirical science fiction.
In the cabinet we display a few examples that illustrate the changing face of the CHILDREN’S PARTY. Ameliaranne, the washerwoman’s daughter, attends the Squire’s annual children’s party (in those days there was only Them and Them, no Us in between) and is apprehended making off with a secret doggy-bag for her numerous brothers and sisters. Despite the gulf in class and speech, Ameliaranne and the Squire have in common their upright, warm and resourceful characters.(Alas, I can’t lay hands on this example at present.) In the 1950’s, early Ladybird books might well refer to “Cook” and “The Nursery”, but Susan and John walk to the party through a spacious suburb of simple though prosperous post-war houses. They are fastidiously dressed and perfectly behaved. Mother is immaculately groomed and effortlessly in charge while the children play pinning the tail on the donkey. By the time of, Topsy and Tim (whose parents are just too old to have really GOT the 60’s) the houses have become simpler and are infested with formica, but the gardens are still boundless and the farm is within walking distance. Mum is beginning to show signs of strain (but Dad, in jumper and check trousers, is there in case a Tiger comes to Tea) and the children’s angelic facades crack when they are tired. By the time of the 70’s and 80’s,Shirley Hughes’ and Sarah Garland’s Mums, themselves children of the 50’s and 60’s, are living in cramped but trendy London terraces (secretly observed for The Guardian by Posy Simmonds) or half-done-up country cottages with leeks in the back garden. The party food is cooked in Agas, which are IN, while Dads are often OUT. The children have become free spirits but are still little dears. We adults can now warm to stories where our own weaknesses are sympathetically admitted or satirised – push-chairs won’t go up steps, the house is a mess, and it rains! We are being softened up for the 90’s and the Oxford Reading Tree, by which time the whole of society has become a free-for-all. The kids run gleefully wild at school and at home; Mum wears a permanent frown, and as for Dad, well Dads will be Dads, overgrown schoolboys who join in the water-fight, burn the sausages or pinch the party food. They want to pin the tale on the donkey but let the children watch junk-telly instead. In the background of these stories lurk grumpy neighbours, stony-faced shopkeepers, the bleached-blond, bicep-fetishist pool-attendant and a misanthropic school caretaker. Although every story ends with “Oh No!” or “Sorry”, society is still held together by that miraculous anarchic cooperation celebrated by Adam Smith. Margaret Thatcher and, recently, Andrew Marr.
What does it mean – has the country gone to the dogs, is it Carnival all the time and does nobody knuckle down to real work any more? Or is it rather that we are simply less oppressed by keeping-up-appearances and can express ourselves more exuberantly? The third alternative (don’t be pedantic) is that our behaviour, like human nature, hasn’t really changed at all. What changes are the fashions by which certain aspects of life are selected for public display and others shelved in the shade. In real 1950’s life, John throws his cap off as soon as he is round the corner, and Susan’s white socks are grubby and down round her ankles. Meanwhile, mother has collapsed into an arm-chair with a gin and tonic, and the house reeks of father’s pipe-smoke. Nowadays, when they are not on camera, Biff and Chip dutifully do their homework every night! DJM Sept.08/09
The Bensley Bible
The dimensions of the cabinet were determined by the dimensions of this book – Volume 6 of The Bible , printed in the year 1800 by Thomas Bensley – which opened measures some 19 by 32 inches (50 by 80 cms). The printer was obviously a successful businessman, but was also a faithful non-conformist, a charitable man and a backer of Frederick Koenig, who invented the first mechanical printing presses.
I purchased the first six volumes of this bible years ago, but Volume 7, Acts to Revelations, was missing. A year or two later, a heavy volume wrapped in brown paper was carried into the shop. My premonition was verified – it was the missing volume -but not from the same set! May you benefit from such an unexpected coincidence; they occur here frequently.
Words printed so BIG have such power, but is this not rather like verse yelled in pubs or over-amplified disco music? This Bible would be a Burden to Bunyan, weighing about a hundredweight and being not without imperfections- there is much “set-off”, oily ghosts of the plates staining the opposite pages.
Incidentally, despite the immense intrinsic worth embodied in such fine hand engraving and printing on such acres of handmade paper , this set is not hugely valuable; certainly worth a lot less than its original cost in real terms.
Some Pan Book Covers from the Classic Period
Our last exhibition (next down this page) was of books mainly from the 16th. And 17th. Centuries. These book date from the 1950’s and 60’s, more precisely from about 1955 until about 1965, an epoch that might seem equally remote to anyone under 45. Certainly they predate the 1960’s/70,s “Enlightenment”; they are pre-feminism, pre-PC; very Glitzy, Kitchy ; all women wore seamed nylons and most men had been in the Commandos or at least looked like Humphrey Bogart – only Poirot seems to have survived untouched into modern times.
Pan shot into the lead in the mass paperback market, using these attention-grabbing and distinctively “branded” designs at a time when Penguin still felt constrained by their classic colour-band covers; the most THE paperback publishers could allow themselves was to start printing stylish line-drawings within their overall standard layout.
Well, I love these “hyper-real” covers, a house style that seems to have got under the skin of all their different artists. Does the appeal lie in the artwork, the fantasy view of the world , or even nostalgia for the style of the wartime generation then free to “have it so good”?
This collection is what has come to hand in a hurry, rather than the “best” or favourite. I have printed off some pages of expertise from the web; I don’t suppose the authors mind. Annoying that I missed the original artwork auction -comes of being a provincial hermit. Thanks for making the cave so sociable.
DJM July 05 notvgoodillus added 09
Writing and Printing in the 15th. and 16th. Centuries
WELL… after a celebration of Pan paperback covers from the 1960’s, let’s go for someone a bit older – who better than WILLIAM CAXTON, the father of English printing. I’m afraid we haven’t a complete book to show, one page will have to do.
Caxton was born and brought up, he tells us, in the Weald of Kent, maybe around 1422. He was first apprenticed to a London mercer (a dealer in textile fabrics) and this trade will have taken him to the Netherlands, to Bruges in particular, where he had become “Governor of the English Nation in the Low Countries” by 1463 – obviously a successful businessman and a good mixer! From 1471 he was in Cologne, learning the printing trade, and on returning to Bruges he printed, in partnership with Colard Mansion, at least three books between 1474 and 1476, one being the first book printed in the English language. In 1476, he returned to Westminster and set up the first press in England at the sign of the “Red Pale” near the Abbey. A printed Indulgence ( a remission of punishment hereafter for confessed sins, purchased from the Church) dated December 1476 has been found, but the first books seem to have been produced in 1477, Caxton completing at least twenty by the close of 1478 and over a hundred by the time of his death in 1491. His books are said not to be distinguished by particular beauty or craftsmanship, but rather by the pioneering choice of history and literature made available in the ENGLISH rather than Latin language. Did he see himself as a follower of Alfred the Great? – from whom he was separated in time by little more than we are separated from him!
The page shown here, affixed to a limited edition of a monograph by the bibliophile Holbrook Jackson, is from Holinshed’s “Chronicle of England”, printed in 1480. At first glance you might take the “black letter” or “cursive” lettering for hand calligraphy; indeed the large capitals ARE handwritten- but surely it was natural to found type in the style of the written manuscripts that printers wished to emulate. In Italy at the same time, classical influence had already led to more Roman faces, easier for us to read than today’s handwriting! Black Letter continued to be used in Britain for at least two hundred years, particularly in Bibles and Prayer Books ( where a traditional look reinforces the message), and for ornate title pages.
In the two Elizabethan books, the “Breeches” Bible (1585) and the “Booke of Christian Prayers” (1581), both Roman and Black Letter appear on the same page – and, in the latter, Italic is added as well, for no very obvious reason.
Also on display are a legal textbook printed in Cologne in 1570, a hundred years after Caxton learned his trade there -Latin in Roman and Italic faces – and an early 17th Century book printed in Cambridge but using 16th. (probably) century sheets, from the laws of Justinian, in its binding – can someone identify the printer or type-founder from the decorated capitals?
Finally, for comparison, I have included two handwritten legal documents of 1487 (the larger) and 1548.
Isn’t it wonderful that such venerable fragments are still in everyyear (if not everyday) circulation ; the two principal items here are in fact not exceptionally valuable – probably worth less than first editions (with dustjackets!!) of Animal Farm or Brideshead Revisited!
Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary
Samuel Johnson issued his Dictionary prospectus in 1747 and sold the copyright to a consortium of bookseller/publishers for £1575, equivalent to about a quarter of a million in today’s Sterling. See the title page illustrated; alas we recently sold our earlier folio edition. This successful floatation allowed him to employ a staff of six (five of them Scots, remarks Boswell approvingly). He structured the work by interleaving an existing dictionary (Nathan Bailey’s) and marking quotations to be transcribed and arranged on slips of paper, adding definitions and etymologies. The Dictionary finally appeared on 15th April, 1755. It is said that his aim was to establish the “proper” meaning of words as used by “classical” authors from Shakespeare onwards rather than to record either living usage or its development. The English Language as she ought to be wrote.
This is a hurried hack note -dissent and correction by scholars welcomed. At the time of revising this note (Nov. 09), we do have a 19th. century revised edition of the full work for sale on another page of our website.
A Hidden Seam of Eric Fraser
Book Clubs (and window-cleaners) rely on must-remember-to-cancel procrastination. Can it be a month since they last knocked on the door? A month is far too short; the windows are still clean, Last month’s book is still unread. Your executors will shake their heads over the shelves of gleaming unread hardback novels, country books, historical biographies, recipes and knitting patterns while us booksellers, when called in, make the sign of the cross to ward off the Right-Left-Time-Life- Readers-Union-Companion-Book-of-the-Month-Reprint-Guild – even, increasingly, the very beautiful Folio Society. In the cabinet are nine volumes from the Scientific Book Club, circa 1957 to 1962, apparently unread, but perhaps much loved by a fierce intellect, and now a sad burden to a daughter forty years on. But how can I scorn such subject material, evocative of an age of scientific optimism of which I am myself an incorrigible product! Disease, malnutrition and old age will be abolished, free nuclear power will banish toil and oil, man will mine the moon, people the planets, contact the stars. Nowadays not only are we less optimistic (!), but our gaze has turned inwards to social and economic ills and work seems now to be valued not for its output but rather as “employment”.
One artist expressing the mystic optimism of that age is Eric Fraser, whose lovely work is exhibited here -it jumped out at Ivan, wading through the bookclub bookcases. Like a commercial artist should, Eric Fraser found his way into the collective subconscious, through his arresting and instantly recognisable work for many everyday household products such as the Radio Times, the Listener, BBC schools music programmes, gas advertisements, wartime posters, Puffin Books ,lots of work for Shell, lots and lots of book illustrations and covers – and ubiquitous postage stamps. His style permeates publications, murals and memories of the Festival of Britain (1951).
Eric Fraser was born in 1902 and studied at Art College part-time while still a schoolboy, his first published work appearing in 1923. He died in 1983, perhaps still warding off misguided fans of Eric Fraser, probably the greatest full back Manchester United have ever known.
From Knotted Blackthorn Staff to Enforcement Officer : How Romantic Tramping led to the Peak District National Park Authority
Perhaps English Literature’s greatest contribution to World culture lies in the individually little-sung but countless accounts of TRAVEL written by sailors, soldiers, missionaries, scientists, administrators, explorers and “travellers” over the last four centuries or so. For much of this time, travel in the form of a youthful “Grand Tour” or period of “Wanderjahre” has been prescribed as a rite of growing up. Contemplating such when older is only possible through a romantic haze, whence comes the appeal of “As I walked out one Midsummer Morning” (Laurie Lee), “Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes” (Stevenson) or “A Time of Gifts” (Fermor). In late Victorian and Edwardian times ,inspired by memory and by such books, not-quite-so-young men, confined to crowded pavement and tube between attic flat and subterranean desk ( or vice versa) would catch the suburban train into Sussex and set out, staff in hand, with witty friends, real or imaginary, to mount the Downs and to sleep in Wayside Covert or in Remote Inn, wishing to meet only Publicans, Shepherds, Blacksmiths and Homely-fare-offering Housewives by the way. Hillaire Belloc, J.B.Morton, and of course Jerome K. Jerome ( though a satirist of all this) come to mind.
By the 1920’s. however, these aristocratic vagabonds were finding their Green Lanes bordered by BUNGALOWS and increasingly invaded by MOTORISTS and, perhaps worse, HIKING CLUBS!! The philosopher and BBC wireless raconteur C.E.M.Joad (“The Untutored Townsman’s Invasion of the Countryside”) sums up the equivocal attitude of the country-loving few to the rambling many (see exhibit PP.32,33) “I look ,or at any rate dress, like one of the lower middle or working classes, but I talk like a gentleman.” At any rate, the rambling many (strong in the North) and the influential fewer (London and Home Counties) did submerge their jealousies and joined in the eventually powerful countryside-preserving, footpath-guarding, commons- and access-demanding and ribbon-development-fighting movement of the 1930’s ( which this little exhibition celebrates ), brutally interrupted by the World War (like the socialist “Clarion” rambling and cycling boom of Edwardian times by the First War)- all law by 1955!
So now, all is well !! Enforcement Orders can be slapped on caravans in field corners, on farmyard scrap-merchants and the footpath-obstructors. Bypasses can be fought. The country is crossed by designated long-distance paths and, now, cycle-routes, along which the well-equipped diligently trudge and pedal – AHA! – you see my lower-middle-class yearning for the romantic REAL travel of the gentleman! Recently, I exchanged glances with my trusty ski-pole and bethought me of a wander along the ridge of the Clwyddian Hills, dropping down of an evening into a smokey hamlet-with-pub in search of a night’s rough shelter. Encouraged, I consulted a newer map -CONFOUND IT! (and them) – it’s now part of the OFFA’S DYKE long-distance footpath. The dream was punctured!
The Scarthin Collection of Antique and Pedigree Staplers
Why can you never find a stapler when you want one?
Because these office shirkers have all slipped away and hidden – somewhere in your house there is a nest of them!
Here are TEN of those I found huddling in drawers when I tidied out our bureau (as an OAP, this is the sort of thing I do now). I think there were more, but they have escaped and gone into hiding again. If only ironing boards were as bashful.
Notice that they are all different. Even in this field there are desperate style and technology wars. The manufacturers cannot rest without introducing planned adolescence. (Is that really what I mean?) Industrial espionage flourishes. Glamorous blondes show off the coming season’s models each October in the crowded and echoing halls of the Frankfurt Weltbüromaterieljahrausstellung. Can you, in your executive suite, afford to have last year’s stapler exposed to the half-hidden sneers of clients and competitors? Has your stapler been ethically sourced? Is it still acceptable to conspicuously clip your papers together with CEO gold-plated hallmarked staples, or should you be promoting the biodegradable type with reduced ecological footprint?
Nowhere are you safe from scrutiny!
The Vanguard Type No. 4A Made in England
This imperious implement has been donated by a customer, who, cast out from the paper-clipping classes, wishes to remain anonymous.
The High Polish on its knob testifies to a life dedicated to the clip of duty! What a tale it might tell.
Early days in the Registry Office:
Those whom VANGUARD has joined together let no one put asunder.
Promotion to Churchill’s War Room:
Eisenhower and Montgomery reluctantly stapled together.
Declared redundant after the Suez debacle:
The sheets come apart.
Rusting years spent in the quiet of the dog-licensing department
loading and adjustment utterly forgotten.
Henceforth all that may be written shall cover no more than one side of A4 paper.
Books in Manuscript, Scrapbooks, Cookery Books, Exercise Books and “the like”
Somewhere in the loft, I still have (as do you, probably) a substantial proportion of my old school exercise books. Dating mainly from the nineteen fifties they already document a vanished era of education. Arithmetical exercises in acres and poles, shillings and pence, stones and lbs., have more in common with their equivalent in the year 1800 then they have with today’s primary schoolwork. Come to think of it, the schoolrooms, desks and pens probably had more in common too! In the cabinet we show the arithmetic book which Master C. Boot began on 23rd.May, 1830, employing superb penmanship. My father, born in 1908, could still write like this and I was supposedly taught “copper-plate” (actually a modified version called “Civil Service Hand” I believe) in a one-room school in Rutland in 1951, but it didn’t quite work out. The writing book that we show was begun on January 8th. 1829 by Anthony Gyte Junior of Sheldon, an ancestor of the Maria Gyte whose diaries, edited by Gerald Phizackerley we published, and who lost her own son Anthony in the Great War. The oldest of the three examples belonged to Stephen Rose in 1748 – more advanced and useful, if not so exquisitely inscribed.
The manuscript cookery books are my mother’s, ( I shan’t tell you her name lest you hack into my account) dating from the second wartime, and one begun in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1802 by Caroline Bethia Gibson. This is a very substantial resource – 199 pages, briefly continued by a descendent in the 1960’s!
Alas, space does not permit us to show more, but in any case one should not burden future generations with too much of this sort of thing. If you have inherited or yourself produced some few manuscripts of interest, my advice and occasional practice is to get them nicely bound or boxed; any thesis-binding company will do a good job. Hey presto, an HEIRLOOM , until its originator is quite forgot and it gets sold to some future Scarthin Books.
DJM Nov. 2006
Scarthin Books have been stuck in a groove of being Scarthin Books for 35 years. How long? THIRTY FIVE YEARS! So, out of loyalty to our kind, those who keep re-drafting the same “poem” every day for a lifetime, we now celebrate G.H.B. WARD the founder of the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers whose annual handbook he edited for some 50 years. Here are a few comments, not our own, but culled and pulled from the Web.
The legendary Sheffield Clarion Handbooks, produced annually from 1900 to 1958, were largely the work of one man – G.H.B. ‘Bert’ Ward – the ‘King of the Clarion Ramblers’. These miniscule booklets, measuring only 3ins by 5ins, were mines of Peak District walking information, and jam packed with fascinating essays on local history, folklore, geology and access information. They were interspersed with anecdotes and quotations from some of the leading outdoor writers of the day, and illustrated by fine black and white photographs of the Peak District and surrounding areas and Ward’s own painstakingly-accurate maps. Now avidly-collected especially by Sheffield ramblers, a rare copy can fetch up to £50 in local second-hand bookshops.
In his own words the booklets ‘contain much unrecorded information upon place names, associations and history of the moorland and valley recesses of the Peak and South Yorkshire, and many chapters of local lore, anecdote and wit.’ Ward gathered his information from the Peaklanders themselves, recording what would otherwise have passed beyond memory.
The early days of rambling provide background scenery to this book, justifying Ward’s claim that the ‘Clarion’ was the ‘ice-breaker and the path finder’ for lovers of the outdoors. He himself was a passionate supporter of organisations working for ramblers’ interests, from footpath preservation and the protection of scenery to Access to Mountains and the creation of National Parks. The Kinder Mass Trespass of 1932 may have passed into rambling legend but G.H.B. Ward was part of an organised trespass on the forbidden heights of Bleaklow as early as 1907. He was also involved in founding the Hunter Archaeological Society and would have been fascinated by the recent major excavations on Gardom’s Edge, near Baslow, since these were triggered by information from Clarion Handbooks of the 1940s.
Armed with his locally-acquired knowledge, Ward would take issue with names shown on Ordnance Survey maps. One example was Herculean Edge, subsequently corrected to its proper name of the Hurkling Stones. Ward probably picked up many anecdotes and legends in his favourite pubs, none better than the fable of the Gabriel Hounds whose unearthly cries had been heard first-hand by a shepherd of his acquaintance. The areas around Dore, Totley, Beauchief Abbey, Blackamoor and Ringinglow feature strongly in this selection of his writings, with topics as diverse as cranberry beds, coal mining, bare-knuckle prize fights and, especially, sheep farming. En route he tells us of poachers, a lady lodger ‘alive’ with lice, a family of basket makers and tales of hidden treasure.
Yes I do remember the Clarion Club House Dore Moor Sheffield as all 4 of my grand parents and my mother and father helped to build the club house in 1919/20 . my father was also sadly involved in the selling of the land at the end, . I have many documents and photos relating to the club house . Many photos of the cycling club dating from 1910. For the Clarion Fellowship at Wincobank [ of which my mothers family were among the founder members} which began in 1909 , I have the record of their meetings and their activities up to 1926. All of these I intend to put on a web site where they can be seen by all, before placing them in the sheffield archives to preserve them. If any one has any photos or documents or written memories of these times to add to this web site it would be great. will place a note on this forum when the web site is finished .I am being helped by my friends from these Clarion days who I am still in touch with.
The Clarion Club House was not only used by the club house shareholders, [who could stay there overnight,] but also by the Clarion Cycling Club , and Clarion Ramblers . At the Club House there were the Clarion Entertainers, a Clarion Football team, Clarion Cricket team, there was a putting green , a bowling green, childrens playground,and a wonderful view of Sheffield from the club house verander at the back. The general public could buy their cups of tea and sandwiches in the cafe, or could even bring their own tea and just get hot water during the war years.
The roadside hut you refer to was , before the first world war, in Cordwell Valley, probably on the land of Edward Carpenter, and was used by Heeley Clarion Fellowship ,[of which my fathers family were members] at weekends.
This collection is not for sale, but we do have some duplicates at £7 to £10 each.
More about those Halcyon CLARION Days
In the autumn of 1900, following an advert in the socialist Clarion newspaper, 13 people enjoyed a memorable walk round the forbidden Kinder Scout plateau led by GHB Ward. This was the start of the Clarion Ramblers, who still walk and take care of the countryside today, and this centenary booklet celebrates their work and that of the great champion of access to the countryside, GHB Ward. The booklet is full of memories, pictures and tales of walks and other events in Clarion history, notably the creation of Ward’s Piece. This land, at the top of Lose Hill in Derbyshire, was purchased by Sheffield and District Federation of the Ramblers’ Association in appreciation of GHB’s service to rambling and he in turn donated it to the people by passing it on to the National Trust. It’s worth noting that in 1928 GHB warned against leaving litter as ‘the enemies of Access to Mountains are already making litter an excuse for an argument’.
Robert Blatchford – founder of the apparently forgotten Clarion movement, during whose (which’s) outings many of our Grandparents or Great-Grandparents met each other!! Where is its equivalent today??
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Peel Glanville Blatchford, (March 17, 1851 – December 17, 1943), was a socialist campaigner and author in the United Kingdom. Born in Maidstone, England, he joined the army at an early age and rose to become a sergeant major. On leaving in 1878, he became a journalist, and later said that it was his experiences in journalism which converted him to socialism.
In 1890, Blatchford founded the Manchester branch of the Fabian Society, and then he launched a weekly newspaper, The Clarion in 1891. In 1893 he published some of his articles on socialism as the book, Merrie England. This influential work was largely inspired by William Morris.
Over two million copies of this ‘plain mans’ guide’ to socialism were sold over the following ten years, many at football matches and other public events. The book’s sales reflect the extraordinary dynamism of Blatchford’s ‘Clarion Movement’. Its numerous choirs and cycling clubs, socialist scouts and Glee Clubs are a reminder that British socialism at the start of the last century placed a distinctive emphasis on convivial organisation.
He saw his work as moralist in nature, and declared his own religion of determinism, campaigning against Christianity. Suspicious of parliamentary politics, he supported the Independent Labour Party for a short while, but threw his weight behind local groups associated with his paper. These groups varied from social clubs to choirs and Scout groups, and in 1900, he formed the Clarion Fellowship in an effort to unify and supplement them. Central to the Clarion movement were the Clarion cycling clubs who, often accompanied by the “Clarion Van”, would travel the country distributing socialist literature and holding mass meetings. Robert Tressell’s classic socialist novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists contains a detailed account based on a meeting Tressell saw which was organised by the Clarion’s cycling scouts.
The Clarion movement also gave support to many of the industrial disputes at this time, including the famous three year lockout of the slateworkers of the Penrhyn slate quarry in North Wales, with the Clarion collecting £1500 to support the people of Bethesda.
In 1902, Blatchford published a new book, Britain for the British, which aimed more at exciting the self-interest of the working class, and was intended to be more practical than Merrie England. His determinism became more clearly defined as he moved from attacking the Bible to attacking the concept of free will. In 1904, he wrote Not Guilty: A Defence of the Bottom Dog, illustrating his view that the poorest in society were in their position as a result of heredity and their environment, and had no control over their actions.
Blatchford came to concentrate on his campaign against religion at the expense of all other activity. Although still a prominent figure around The Clarion, his socialism waned. A supporter of the British government during the Second Boer War, in order to support the First World War, he joined the Socialist National Defence League, and then in 1924 moved to support the Conservative Party.
His grave is in Horsham. My Auntie Jean lives there! Must visit it, but what to place on it? DJM