NOBODY’S CHILD

"Nobody's Child" Cassie is an eleven year old girl who has been in a children's home since she was four years old. Very bright, Cassie excels in most subjects and can play Brahms and Mozart on the piano at the age of only six. Because of her age nobody wants to adopt her. Mrs Cummings the manager of Auton House is a wicked woman who treats Cassie and the rest in her charge badly and beats her with regularity. One day she is sent to clean out the toilet and bathroom and Mrs Cummings comes along to inspect them. Running a white glove over everything and looking for dirt. When she doesn't find any she then reaches up on the door - Cassie is only three feet six inches tall and was unable to reach up to the top of the door and Mrs Cummings sets about her with a cane. She beats her so badly that Cassie runs at her forcing her back where she hits her head on a wash basin. Cassie in her panic rushes out and runs away.- It is there that she meets Don a ex docker who takes pity on the girl - rea

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it into a steelworks. He saw the potential that the old Palmers yard had and wanted to capitalise on it as it had rail and docking facilities.

Stanley Baldwin was less enthusiastic about Salt’s plans; he didn’t want to see exploitation by foreign sources. It annoyed Baldwin so much that Salt withdrew from negotiations to buy the yard.

“Ellen Wilkinson said that the plans by Salt were strangled at birth.”

Another important figure was David Riley who sat on the committee as chairman of Jarrow’s Borough Council. Riley said” If it were left to him then he would march every unemployed person in Britain to London in protest.”

“The government would be forced to listen then.’ Riley was appointed as chief marshal of the Jarrow Crusade. There was support from the medical students who said that they would go along with the marchers to help them if needed. The 200 men assembled outside of the town hall in Jarrow where the Bishop James Gordon gave a blessing to the men before they set off on the march led by a band of harmonica players. They were cheered on by all the people of Jarrow and other areas who came to see them off. There was another march by the Blind Veteran’s Society (BVS) who were also campaigning against unemployment They demanded better allowances for 67.000 blind people. They were to set off a week after the crusaders.

 

The first week of the March the men on the march had travelled 69 miles and they ended up in Ripon where they were welcomed by the Bishop. David Riley and Ellen Wilkinson were being interviewed at every stage of the march; Ellen Wilkinson had left the march briefly to attend a Labour Party Conference. She got angry when it was suggested that benefits would be cut for those on the march as they were not actually available for work and therefore not eligible to claim.

 The march carried on from Ripon to Chesterfield where the men were fed by members of the Rotary club and the Territorial Army gave them shelter for the night.

It was better than the workhouse conditions they had been receiving for overnight stops. David Riley refused a £20.00 donation from the Communist Party stating that he wanted to preserve the non political character of the crusade. At Harrogate Ellen Wilkinson rejoined the march as they proceeded through the towns of South Yorkshire, Chesterfield, and Derbyshire. By then the March was being covered by every newspaper and news radio programme. The government were concerned that even King Edward V111 would take in the marchers. The government condemned those in charge of the march saying that they were putting people’s lives in danger; allowing those taking part to suffer unnecessary hardship.”

Ellen Wilkinson replied saying that it was just crocodile tears by the government.

The government then had words to say about the Bishop of Durham who was said to be encouraging the march by giving them his blessing. In a letter posted to the Times Newspaper “The Bishop said that the blessing was an act of Christian duty but in general he believed that such demonstrations be discouraged.”

Wilkinson forgave the bishop sighting media pressure for submitting to the government.

During the third week of the march from Chesterfield to Northampton the men marched 83 miles, when they reached Mansfield, The Labour Council defied the national leadership by welcoming the demonstrators. They were given clean clothes, underwear and the cobblers from the local co-op worked through the night to repair the boots that were worn down by the men. The Crusaders presented the vicar of St Marks with a wooden cross. From there the marchers continued to Market Harborough. 

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