© 2019 Website created by Hannah Stringer

E-mail: info@clarionhouse.org.uk   Post: Jinny Ln, Newchurch-in-Pendle, Burnley, BB12 LL   Social:

THE LAST CLARION HOUSE

 

Documentary about the Last Clarion House, Pendle, Lancashire. DOP Nick Gordon-Smith Editor Cliff West Music by Vini Reilly, Durutti Column Director Charlotte Bill Clapham Film Unit and Clarion House Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

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”.

We have an online and printed book including both this and a new book we have created, which you can find in our 'resources' page, along with many other articles about the history of Clarions, walking routes inc. points of interest to discover, what flora and insects you can find at our house and more.
All these items and more are also available on a CD-ROM (please email for details).

The Nelson branch of the ILP was formed in 1893, one of the first and eventually the second largest branch in the country.



For many years the focal point for the branch was the former Independent Labour Party Institute and Socialist Sunday School, which were situated in Vernon Street, Nelson.

The land on which the institute was built was purchased in 1906. Many fund raising events were held. A single three day “Grand Socialist Bazaar” raised the princely sum of £580.



In 1907 memorial stones were laid by Socialist Pioneers. Selina Cooper laid a stone in memory of Caroline Martyn & Enid Stacey. Mrs Bruce Glasier laid another in memory of William Morris & Edward F. Fay (The Bounder).

The magnificent stone building costing £3,000 was opened on the 28th of March 1908.
A procession of over 600 people led by the Mayor and a brass band marched through the town to the new institute.

The opening ceremony was performed by Philip Snowden M.P. and was followed by a Tea and Social for 600 people.

Two stained glass windows were situated above the main entrance, together with a stone lintel proclaiming: “Socialism Our Hope.”

Both of the windows have been preserved, one of the windows is on loan to the People's History Museum Bridge Street, Manchester. The other window of the pair is placed in an honoured position in the Nelson ILP Land Society Clarion House (images of the windows are on our CD-ROM).

The institute had an extensive basement and boiler room.

The ground floor containing a grand entrance and stairs, cloakroom, bathroom and toilets, reading room, library, committee rooms, school rooms, billiard room and kitchen.



First floor accommodation comprised, lecture/concert room for 600 people, a stage with anterooms and back stairs.

The decline of the ILP in Nelson mirrored the national decline of the ILP and as a consequence the institute is now used to serve a wider community.

The Nelson ILP branch, the members of which were mainly cotton workers, rented a cottage (Thorneyholme Square) in 1899 to allow its members to escape the polluted air of mills and towns.

The out of town venue was used to promote good health and stimulate socialist fellowship.



In 1903 when it had become apparent that the cottage was too small they rented Nabs Farm, Dimpenly and it was renamed the Clarion House.

The Independent Land Society was formed in 1910 raising money from ILP members through the purchase of £1 shares.

A plot of land was purchased at Jinney Lane, the Nelson Weavers Association loaned the Land Society the money needed to build the present Clarion House.

Both the land and the building are still held in trust by the Land Society.

OUR HISTORY

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.  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.

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.

We have an online and printed book including both this and a new book we have created, which you can find in our 'resources' page, along with many other articles about the history of Clarions, walking routes inc. points of interest to discover, what flora and insects you can find at our house and more.
All these items and more are also available on a CD-ROM (please email for details).

For more research / publications on out history, please visit:

WHAT WE ARE NOW

A PLACE FOR SOCIALIST MOVEMENT; A FELLOWSHIP OF KINDRED SOULS

Today the Clarion House remains a monument to those early socialist pioneers and continues to be a haven for walkers and cyclists.

OPEN SUNDAYS

10:30 - 16:00

We are entirely volunteer-run.

We are open every Sunday and some Bank Holidays and we offer a warm welcome to both seasoned walkers and cyclists and families out for a Sunday stroll.

You can even wash down your own packed lunch with a drink purchased from us.

Pints (and mugs) of the celebrated Clarion Tea are on sale along with a variety of other beverages and confectionery.

You are welcome to bring your own food.

AN OUTDOOR RETREAT - OPEN TO ALL, ALWAYS

Even when the cafe's not open, we encourage you to visit our breathtaking grounds.

The “Clarion” is situated in its own grounds, with a magnificent view to the North. We are deep in the heart of “Pendle Witch” country. Roughlee, Barley, Read and the historic towns of Colne, Whalley and Clitheroe are all within walking distance. We are in the “Hidden Valley” surrounded by a myriad of Public Footpaths and close to both The Pendle Way and The Two Roses Way. Celebrated Pendle Hill is to the immediate North West and a few miles to the East, Boulsworth Hill towers over the Pennine Way. Within the grounds children can play under the watchful eye of their parents. There are lawned areas and an adventure playground. Part of the grounds have been set aside for wildlife and a pond has been dug to develop this potential. Major refurbishment of the building has taken place, made possible with funds raised by our supporters and the labour of volunteers. Our regulars never tire of the many and varied paths that bring them to the Clarion.

The local ramblers have made a major contribution in ensuring that both the spirit and the fabric of the Clarion House have survived until today.

Cyclists visit in profusion including several Clarion Cycling Clubs. Serious riders from as far away as Keswick, having left before breakfast, refuel and join in the banter with local family groups who have peddled a blissful few miles from one of the nearby towns or villages.

A VENUE FOR PEACE, SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION  - contact info@clarionhouse.org.uk

Major refurbishment of the building has taken place, made possible with funds raised by our supporters and the labour of volunteers.

The Clarion is a simple stop off for those who find contentment from their own labours, the great outdoors and friendly company. We hope to see you soon!

WHAT WE WILL BE

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.