The origins of the Clarion House at Newchurch, near Burnley, go way back to 1899 when a handful of ILP members rented their first Clarion House in Thorneyholme between Barley and Happy Valley.
On 24 July, a brilliantly sunny Sunday afternoon 112 years later, the Clarion House at Jinney Lane and its surrounding countryside looked and sounded very much like a happy valley.
Indeed, there was a carnival atmosphere as lots of people came together to be entertained by two choirs – the Burnley Clarion Choir and the Bolton Clarion Choir – while being constantly plied with sandwiches, cakes and buns.
The occasion was a presentation by the ILP of a large framed copy of the colourfully illuminated ILP certificate of membership, first issued at the 1914 Bradford conference which celebrated the coming of age of the Independent Labour Party (founded in Bradford in 1893).
The presentation affirmed the ILP’s long-standing relationship with the Clarion. But it also, and primarily, acknowledged the dedication of the voluntary workers who devote considerable time and energy to maintaining Clarion House.
Over the years, the Clarion has welcomed countless numbers of people, many organisations and numerous prominent members of the socialist movement. And today its hospitality is there for ramblers who have in the past helped the Clarion through some of its hardest times.
It is not well endowed financially, but there is always a welcome. It is a working class institution with deep socialist roots and the songs of the combined choirs made that very clear.
Altogether, it was a very enjoyable day.
Clarion House can be found at:
Read more about Clarion House: www.clarionhouse.org.uk