Remembering 'working-class history' and 'battling for justice' as Rebel Town Festival returns to Jarrow
The radical spirit of South Tyneside and its history of pushing for social reform was celebrated as the Folk of Jarrow – Rebel Town Festival finally returned to Jarrow.
The sun shone down on the annual event as if to make up for the proceedings being first cancelled in 2020 due to covid, then rescheduled from its original July 3 date due to concerns over the Delta variant.
Key speakers at the event included former miners’ leader Arthur Scargill, Vin Wynne from the National Education Union, and Jarrow MP Kate Osborne.
Ms Osborne said: “It was an honour to speak at the fifth Folk of Jarrow Rebel Town Festival this morning.
“Jarrow has a rich history, a history that goes back over hundreds of years.
“Today gives us an opportunity to remember our town’s working-class history.”
The festival began with an assembly at 11am beside the William Jobling memorial stone, close to the Jarrow entrance to the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel.
There were speeches, a banner parade through the town, music and stalls, with the main rally taking place outside the Gin & Ale House on Walter Street.
The Rebel Town Festival marks the significant role Jarrow has played in the history of Britain’s industrial relations since the 1830s.
It commemorates the story of the 1832 Seven Men of Jarrow, who were deported to an Australian penal colony for a crime they almost certainly didn’t commit.
Ms Osborne said: “We must commemorate and celebrate the sacrifices of those from our past, but the best tribute we can pay them – from the Jarrow Marchers to Seven Men of Jarrow – is to be inspired and use their memory to fight harder against current battles against inequality and for fairness.”
The event was organised by Follonsby Wardley Miners Lodge Banner Community Heritage Association, with the Durham Miners Association, the National Education Union and “with thanks to South Tyneside County Council Community Fund”.
The event also included modern-day campaigners from the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign, who took part in the parade with their banner.