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Jarrow Crusade: Creative writing publication

A new publication has been produced using creative writing and poetry produced by the school children of Jarrow alongside original material written by Tom Kelly.  It was published on 5th October, 80 years to the day that the marchers left Jarrow, at an event in Jarrow Town Hall, hosted by the Mayor of South Tyneside to commemorate the anniversary.

Jarrow Crusade - Creative Writing1.35MB


'Monument' is a poem written by Tom about the Jarrow Crusade and features in his latest poetry collection, 'Spelk', published in April 2016, by Red Squirrel Press.

(Jarrow's shipyard, Palmers, was closed by the cartel, National Shipbuilding Securities in 1933 which led to mass unemployment and the Jarrow Crusade of 1936.)

Jarrow's MP, Ellen Wilkinson speaking in the House of Commons, 1936


Today is mixed with yesterday,

Pathe News becomes flesh and blood,

men with Charlie Chaplin trousers

return to where they once stood.


In the Jarrow area there is 72 per cent unemployment,

in Jarrow Town the percentage nearly 80.

Jarrow must be made a special case. Jarrow is the victim of ruthless rationalisation which is being backed by the Government.


Uncle Johnny gave me his badge,

I see him on the Edgware Road,

marching in rain-soaked Mackintosh

and now tears stick in me throat.


They presented their petition,

Jarrow's Mayor dropped his heavy chain,

Wasn't defiance, he told me,

It was a slip I'd do again.


Is the President of the Board of Trade aware that the government's complacency is regarded throughout the country as an affront to the national conscience?

Some shed bitter tears, railed,

Ya knaa we've been sold down th' Thames.

Has ti be more, can't be just this.

Is this how our battle ends?


On Guy Fawkes they came home by train,

knowing their place, third class single,

handed them cheap suits and cheers

still their pockets didn't jingle.


In St Paul's Cathedral there is a memorial to Sir Christopher Wren, which reads: "If you seek a monument look around."

If the Attorney General wants to see a monument to the capitalist system that he is so proud of, I will take him to Jarrow and show it to him.

Tom Kelly


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