The History of Jarrow March

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Jarrow is referred to as Gyruum in 750 and is now connected by two tunnels to the north bank of the Tyne and is part of the Tyne and Wear underground system. From the middle of the 19th century, Jarrow developed rapidly and until 1934 was the center of shipbuilding, coal mining, and the iron ore industry. The city is famous for the fact that after the closure in 1934 of most large enterprises, it began the March from Jarrow (a protest march of the British unemployed) in London in 1936. Agents sent forward from Jarrow, Labor Mr. Harry Stoddert, and Conservative Mr. R. Seddick, worked together to prepare the premises for overnight stays and meetings.

The History of Jarrow March

Jarrow is a small city located on the south bank of the River Tyne in the northeast of England, in 1974 it belongs to the administrative region of South Tyneside, in the county of Tyne and Wear, before that it was part of the county of Durham. In 682, the Monk Benedict Biscop built a monastery here, dedicated to St. Paul, and became famous as a center of learning and as the place where the Venerable Bede lived, worked, and was buried. The monastery was destroyed during the raid of the Danes around 860, and now the historical museum "The World of Bede" is located on the territory of the monastery (Gillan). The town of Jarrow, thus, has a long and ancient history, however, as the Great Depression struck the United States in the early 1930s and influenced the rest of the world, Jarrow would gradually become one of the depressed locations in the UK.

One of the most dramatic events of the 1930s, which brought world attention to impoverished, jobless England, was the March of the Hungry, particularly on the stretch from Jarrow to London. Labor MP Ellen Wilkinson led the march, followed by three hundred shipbuilders from Jarrow. It was not a hunger strike, but a protest march, the unanimity with which Jarrow joined the protests, indicated that the parties represented on the city council agreed, since there will be no elections this November. Although by law the city could not spend even a farthing of taxpayer money on the demonstration, city hall employees sent about 200,000 letters to various companies, trade unions, cooperatives, etc., so that the march fund was 850 pounds sterling. They hoped that by October 31, when the procession is due to reach Marble Arch, the fund would amount to a round sum of 1,000 pounds (Collette). The organization of the march was aimed at the governmental effort to optimize and improve the economic situation in the country and employment in particular. The Jarrow March is sometimes also called the Jarrow Crusade for people went to it to essentially fight for what they deserved.

The most fortunate part of the able-bodied population of Jarrow, which had a job (and this is less than 15% of the townspeople) was thrown off from income. But the main part of the fund was donations from all over the country, and not only in money. The preparation of such a march is costly, the cost of gifts from the fund's expenses, for example, what it would cost to distribute two twopenny packs a day to two hundred people. Any sixpenny trifle is worth five pounds in relation to 200 demonstrators, whether it be soap, tobacco, or anything else. Before the people went on the march, their shoes were repaired, and they were given two pairs of socks and two iodine insoles. They kept in touch with Jarrow all the time, and if one of the marchers got a job, he went to work (“People and Protest: The Story of the Jarrow March”). Although the Jarrow March was initially taken as the defeat by the workers, the gradual recognition of the venture would later, in fact, become one of the most significant and effective measures to fight unemployment. By the time the World War II broke out in the region, the unemployment rate would largely decrease in Jarrow.


This march did not make political demands, just the city of Jarrow was asking: "Give us a job." The march was attended by Labor, Liberals, Tories, and one or two Communists, but it was impossible to distinguish who was who, the march even received the approval of the church: the Bishop of Ripon, the Honorable Lant, blessed him today and donated 5 pounds. The marchers solemnly carried the Jarrow Citizens' Petition, a thick book with 12,000 signatures. Outstanding English rock musician Alan Price (ex-Animals) wrote a song dedicated to the 40th anniversary of this event in 1976.

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Works Cited

"People And Protest: The Story Of The Jarrow March". The Historic England Blog, 2021,

Collette, Christine. "British History In Depth: The Jarrow Crusade". BBC History, 2011,

Gillan, Tony. "The Vikings: A Huge Part Of Jarrow’S History, But Very Bad Lads". The Shields Gazette, 2021,

June 09, 2022


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