Behold Ye Ramblers a new play by Neil Gore

From the voices of ramblers and campaigners to the songs and poetry inspired by past and current struggles, “Behold Ye Ramblers” is a new play about the rise of the “The Clarion” newspaper and the organisations formed by its readership, including the Clarion Cyclists, Clarion Vans, Clarion Vocal Unions and Bands as well as rambling clubs, like the famous Sheffield Clarion Ramblers. These late Victorian and early Edwardian pioneers promoted Socialism and healthy outdoor pursuits under the banner “Fellowship Is Life”. Many organised regular cycling excursions, as Clarion ‘Scouts’, handing out leaflets and selling newspapers to promote Socialism, and others organised expeditions across open moors and mountains to protect footpaths whilst campaigning for the right to roam, bringing them into conflict with landowners, gamekeepers and laws prioritising private property over the wellbeing of others. At its height “The Clarion” regularly sold between 30,000 and 70,000 a week and was popular because of its informal accessibility from the range of stories, jokes and verses that appeared in its pages, and it had a huge influence upon public opinion. 



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“Behold Ye Ramblers” traces the founding of “The Clarion” newspaper by Robert Blatchford; the persuasive power of its journalism demonstrated by the conversion of “Daisy” Greville, the Countess of Warwick, to Socialism; the development of many Clarion Vans that toured the nation to promote Socialism, pioneered by Julia Dawson; and, the inspirational leader of Sheffield’s Clarion Ramblers, G.H.B. Ward.