Some days later, on the 29th of October, a letter of support would appear in The Times from Mr. R.I. Dodds a former Mayor of Jarrow he wrote: “These men belong to no one political party but to all parties. They are not hooligans or revolutionaries but unemployed men who are walking nearly 300 miles to London with no less high motives than the crusaders of old” (Quote from The Times 29th October)
Rested, the weekend over the men set their sights on Bedford some 21 mile away. Arriving at the town found the marchers short of 5 men two of the men found themselves in hospital while the other 3, returned home to Jarrow. One of the men in hospital was a chap called Sammy Rowan he had fallen down some steps over the weekend and ended up in Sheffield General Hospital. As he was the only one authorized to sign checks, his loss would be surely felt. However, after a restful weekend he was able to continue when the march restarted on the Monday.
The welcome in Bedford was rather different from other places there were many speeches of support for the men, but when it came to food and accommodation it was rather poor. Now, close to their goal the men needed to rest up here for an extra day this would then ensure their arrival in London for the coming weekend.
The River Ouse runs through the town centre and is lined by gardens, also referred to as the Embankment. There is also a war memorial to those that fell in the first world war. (1914 to 1919) The memorial was designed in 1921 by the sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger and depicts a Knight vanquishing a dragon. The views of the River Great Ouse in Bedford from the Town Bridge, looking downstream are something else (breathtaking). In St. Paul’s square stands Bedford’s principal church St. Paul’s. Bedford’s Museum of local history and interest is adjacent to The Cecil Higgins Gallery, here you can see collections of watercolours, prints and drawings, ceramics, glass and lace. The U.K’s Long-distance runner and current world record holder Paula Radcliffe went to school in Bedford, the views from the Town Bridge looking downstream is (breathtaking). On the left bank can be seen The old Coaching Inn, and the Swan Hotel. Bedford Rowing Club and the multi-story Bedford Park Inn are on the right.
Leaving Bedford on Wednesday, 28th October, the men walked the 19 miles required to reach Luton. Earlier that day the Duke of Kent had been opening the new Town Hall so the residents were still in high spirits when the men marched into there town. Later that evening the men had to cancel their usual meeting as there was to be a fireworks display for the children and the Mayor of Luton thought the meeting may put a damper on these festivities. Accommodation for the marchers had been prepared in the Winter Assembly Hall. Friday would see the men entering Greater London.
Follow the Marchers: Luton to London.
- Bedford Town Bridge Image: Webshots