Kinder Mass Trespass archives on show in Edale
- 24 April 2012
- From the section Derby
Previously unseen personal accounts and photographs from a famous mass trespass in the Peak District are to be published to mark its 80th anniversary.
On Sunday 24 April 1932, hundreds of ramblers walked on to private land on Kinder Scout in Derbyshire to assert their right to walk freely across the countryside, which they called their "right to roam".
After what became known as the Kinder Mass Trespass, five men were arrested and imprisoned for "riotous assembly".
The archive of material is part of a project by the Kinder Visitor Centre Group to create a permanent visitor centre in the village of Hayfield, where the trespass began.
Some of the new material is on display at the Moorland Centre in Edale.
The group also plans to launch a dedicated website to gather content and display its collection of archive material.
John Harvey, chair of the group, said: "This is a heritage topic of national and regional importance which merits being developed into a significant visitor attraction."
The project, which was awarded £18,000 by the Peak District National Park's sustainable development fund, aims to bring together copies of articles, official records and photographs.
The archive material includes personal accounts by protesters, including Benny Rothman, a communist mechanic from Manchester who led the walkers up Kinder Scout - which in the 1930s was used to keep grouse for rich landowners.
Mr Rothman, who died aged 90 in 2002, was interviewed by the BBC in the 1980s.
He said: "It was possibly a naive idea that if enough ramblers went on a ramble, no group of keepers could stop them because there would be more ramblers than keepers.
"We went up the bank from William Clough in one long line and as we went up the bank, the person in charge of the keepers gave instructions to the keepers to come down the bank and meet us halfway.
"They did that and there must have been a dozen or slightly more brandishing their sticks and shouting 'get back'. Of course we just ignored them or pushed them aside until we got to the top."
To mark the protest, which helped pave the way for the establishment of national parks, a number of events are also being held.
These include a re-enactment of the walk by people dressed in 1930s attire and the launch of a revised and updated version of protest leader Benny Rothman's book on the trespass.
Roly Smith, chairman of the festival committee, said: "The trespass anniversary has become an important date in the outdoor calendar.
"Many people believe the sacrifice made 80 years ago by these ramblers should never be forgotten."
Another member of the Kinder Visitor Centre Group, David Toft, has written a poem to mark the occasion, which also acts as a warning, he says.
He said: "I wanted to celebrate the actions of the trespassers in asserting their right to roam and at the same time, to sound a cautionary note about complacency."
It begins with the verse: "To claim for all who'd follow - The right to hear that song - To breath that air with smog-bruised lungs - To taste the sweetness of the open space - To pause a moment from the draining race - Of hard industrial existence.
But ends with the warning: "Remember there are those who would have kept this from us - And those who even now would, if they could - Keep us from the silver stream and open moor - And windswept wood."