Darlington was the next stop for the marchers. They had anticipated a cool reception but were pleasantly surprised to find a warm and friendly welcome from the local people. Upon their arrival, the men were served a dinner that they could be proud of, followed by rice pudding. Afterward, they gathered for their usual meeting and were pleasantly surprised by the presence of the Mayor of Jarrow, Alderman Thompson, and his wife, who had come to offer encouragement.
The Alderman spoke about how the shipbuilding skills of the Jarrow residents had been in great demand during the years 1914 to 1918. He expressed his belief that Jarrow and its people needed the nation’s help to reduce unemployment and eradicate poverty. All the people of Jarrow were asking for was the opportunity to work.
It is intriguing to consider what those proud men and women from the past would think about today’s workforce if they were here to offer an opinion. While some individuals hold their heads high as they provide for themselves and their families, a significant number of people do not. They simply refuse to work and prefer to rely on unemployment benefits. This topic, however, deserves further contemplation for another day.
Numerous events were taking place across the country at that time, and it is not my intention to outline every march that occurred. There were various groups, and one of them was called The National Unemployed Workers Movement, led by Wall Harrington, which had communist leanings. Another movement, known as The Fascist Movement, was led by Sir Oswald Mosley. Unlike the Jarrow March, some of these other marches were poorly organized and often descended into violence and bloodshed. Needless to say, this was not desirable.
On the 8th of October, the marchers left the boundaries of County Durham and entered North Yorkshire. Uncertain about the reception they would receive, the men continued their march south. By late afternoon, after covering another 16 miles, they arrived at Northallerton, where their unspoken fears were completely dispelled. The people of Northallerton were just as friendly and generous as those in their own county. Many lined the sidewalks, shouting words of encouragement. A meal was provided at the Town Hall, and overnight accommodations were also offered.
Ripon a cathedral city in the Borough of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England, was their next destination. The cathedral itself dates back to 672 AD. Ripon boasts a beautiful cathedral, a canal basin, a thriving market, a Law and Order Museum, and a Workhouse Museum where visitors can witness the hardships and suffering endured by the poor in the 18th century. Ripon is also known as one of the smallest cities in England and has much to offer visitors. There is a wealth of attractions waiting to be explored, and it comes highly recommended.
Follow the Marchers: Ripon to Wakefield.