Unemployed Jarrow Men March 300 Miles

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Photograph: Some of the 200 men on route to London.

October 31, 1936

More than two hundred jobless men from the town of Jarrow in England’s north have marched 300 miles from their town to Parliament House in London in an attempt to secure government help for their unemployment crisis.

Frustrated by many Londoners ignorance to the staggering seventy per cent unemployment levels and horrid living conditions, the men felt it was necessary to take peaceful action in order to resolve the issue. Even before the Depression had begun, northern England towns were close to crisis, taking action with a general strike in 1926, but since the financial crisis, the economies of these towns has only gotten worse.

Last year, the Palmers Ship Yard, which was the town’s main source of employment closed down. Since then, the town has almost died, with local Member of Parliament, Ellen Wilkinson, describing it as ‘utterly stagnant’.

The National Government is yet to take action, with its only form of decisive action during the depression being the 1931 budget, which cut the pay of government employees and cut unemployment benefits in a desperate attempt to balance the books.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/britain_wwone/jarrow_01.shtml

Bidgood, Anthony et al. Twentieth Century History: 1900-1945. Collingwood, Vic.: History Teachers’ Association of Victoria, 2006. N. pag. Print.

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