The people of the North East of England
, mainly miners and shipworkers, were suffering even more than the rest of the country with unemployment. On 13th of October 1936
, 200 men, known as the Jarrow Marchers
, set off from Jarrow
to lobby Parliament
The march was a desperate attempt to find jobs to support Jarrow men and their families. It was also a bid for respect and recognition, not only for the people of Jarrow, but for others in a similar situation all over the country.
The marchers had no resources other than their own determination, and some good boots supplied by the public. During the march, wherever the marchers stopped for the night, the local people found them shelter and provided them with food.
The route they took, with overnight stops, was as follows:
- Jarrow to Chester le Street (12 miles)
- Chester le Street to Ferry Hill - (12 miles)
- Ferry Hill to Darlington - (12 miles)
- Darlington to Northalton - (16 miles)
- Northallerton to Ripon - (17 miles)
- Ripon to Harrogate - (11½ miles)
- Harrogate to Leeds (15½ miles)
- Leeds to Wakefield - (9 miles)
- Wakefield to Barnsley - (9¾ miles)
- Barnsley to Sheffield - (13½ miles)
- Sheffield to Chesterfield - (11¾ miles)
- Chesterfield to Mansfield - (12 miles)
- Mansfield to Nottingham - (14½ miles)
- Nottingham to Loughborough - (15 miles)
- Loughborough to Leicester - (11¼ miles)
- Leicester to Market Harborough - (14½ miles)
- Market Harborough to Northampton - (14½ miles)
- Northampton to Bedford - (21 miles)
- Bedford to Luton - (19 miles)
- Luton to St Albans - (10¼ miles)
- St Albans to Edmonton - (11 miles)
- Edmonton to London Marble Arch (8½ miles)
When the marchers arrived in London, almost one month later, a petition of 12,000 signatures was handed into Parliament by Ellen Wilkinson, the Labour MP
for Jarrow. The Prime Minister
of the day, Stanley Baldwin
, refused to see any of the marchers' representatives.
The march achieved little at the time. It was the outbreak of World War II three years later that finally brought sufficient work to Jarrow to relieve the poverty.
The Jarrow March is one of the defining moments in British history, alongside the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 and the Tolpuddle Martyrs of 1834, in the emancipation of ordinary citizens.