Events mark 80th anniversary of Jarrow Crusade

The Jarrow Crusade
The Jarrow Crusade

The Jarrow Crusade's 80th anniversary will be celebrated with a range of events and activities.

The march saw 200 people walk from Jarrow to London in October 1936 to deliver a petition to parliament demanding work for the poverty-stricken town, only to be met with disappointment when they reached the capital.

An exhibition exploring the history of the Crusade titled ‘Marching into History’ will run from Saturday 1 October 2016 until Saturday 4 February 2017 at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery. The exhibition will incorporate photographs, artefacts and dramatic reconstructions of the march.

Coun Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, with responsibility for Culture and Heritage, said: "The day the Jarrow marchers left for London, October 5, will always be remembered in South Tyneside.

"Despite the disappointment that the marchers faced when they reached the capital, their actions on that fateful day are remembered with real pride by the people of South Tyneside to this day. The Jarrow Crusade marchers represented the strength of community spirit, which is still deep rooted within the town today, and their stories, hopes and aspirations resonate with people 80 years on.

"I would encourage people with a vested interest in the Jarrow Crusade and those who want to discover more about the historic event to take advantage of the activities taking place across the Borough to commemorate this key milestone anniversary."

A research programme led by Dr Matt Perry, a reader in Labour History at Newcastle University, has shed light on the everyday lives of the Jarrow marchers by using census data and other original sources.

People across the Borough and school children from Jarrow have taken part in the research titled ‘Who were the Marchers?’, based at Jarrow Library, and their work has helped inform the exhibition at South Shields Museum and Art gallery.

A commemorative pamphlet has also been produced in celebration of the historic event’s key milestone anniversary. The publication, which is available on the Council’s website, features creative writing and poetry about the crusade by school children from Jarrow alongside original material written by Jarrow-born poet and playwright, Tom Kelly.

Visitors to Jarrow Town Hall reception can also view memorabilia and artefacts relating to the Jarrow Crusade including the iconic Jarrow Crusade banner, the original petition box and images of the march.

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As part of the commemorations Dr Matt Perry is leading further research into the Jarrow Crusade and anyone interested in contributing to the ‘Who were the Marchers?’ research programme can email