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The Clarion House Way

BBC inside out feature

Page last updated 25.06.2018







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The Clarion House was built to be a non-profit making co-operative with any excess money to be used in spreading the word of socialism.

This was no accident, no coincidence. It was planned in the hope that others would take it as a model of how society as a whole ought to be organised.

Visitors could come and witness how people - lots of people - were prepared to devote their lives to the Clarion movement for no personal gain, other than the knowledge that they would leave the world a better place than when they entered it.

The Clarion is a vision of the future, a vision of a socialist society, a commonwealth, based on co-operation and fellowship, not conflict and material greed.

Those early socialist pioneers who built the Clarion chose a place of recognised natural beauty in the fervent hope that the rest of the world (for socialism knows no boundaries) would come to resemble it and become a place of beauty, not only physical beauty - but also a moral and social beauty.

The Clarion (meaning - to proclaim loudly) was to be the instrument by which their message would be spread, uniting the world under one banner of socialism, peace and harmony.

The present and last Clarion House is one of several ‘Clarion Houses’ that were used by the Nelson Independent Labour Party.It was built in 1912 under the direction of the trustees of the Nelson ILP Land Society.

The building project was funded by a loan of £350 from the Nelson Weavers Association. The size of the loan at that time, says as much about the size and success of the Nelson Weavers Association as it does about the inescapable relationship that existed between the developing trade union movement and the emerging political parties which were forming to represent "labour” independently.

The history of the Clarion House is encapsulated in a book written by Roger Brown and the late Stan Iveson, titled: “Clarion House - A Monument to a Movement”.
This book is currently out of print, however it has been reproduced in electronic form and along with a photographic history of the ILP and other items is available on a CD-ROM (please
email for details).

There is a transcript of an engaging interview with Stan Iveson on the 'OneGuyFromBarlick' web site (posted by local historian Stanley Challenger Graham) The interview was carried out by Daniel Meadows, you can learn more about his work at the Free Photographic Omnibus.

Briercliffe Clarion House created by Melvyn Hirst here (PDF 124KB)

Colne Clarion House Timeline created by Melvyn Hirst and John Boardman - Nov 2017 here (PDF 551KB)

Colne Clarion House
and other Clarion Houses in NE Lancashire - narrative created by Melvyn Hirst - June 2018 here (PDF 3MB)

Clarion Clubhouses Blog - Researched and written by Melvyn Hirst

An Account of Socialist Drama Groups from the Peoples Theatre Archive can be found here (PDF 185KB)

If you wish to learn more about the Clarion Movement we have included below an account of the London Clarion Club House and a further account of Clarion activities in Liverpool. Both Items are from the Hayes Peoples History web site which we strongly recommend to students of social history.
We have also included a page of other Clarion venues.

London Clarion Club House (PDF 182KB)
Liverpool Clarion Activities (PDF 320KB)
Camps, Houses and Vans (PDF 197KB)


The founders of Nelson ILP.

Nabs House

"Nabs House" the second Clarion House.

"Nabs House" January 2012 following removal of a porch added in intervening years.

ILP Billiards Team 1930's

ILP Billiards team 1930's.

Clarion Players perform "The MIkado"