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Last updated:06 May 2015

Clarion movement

The Clarion: newspaper and popular movement

Clarion outing

In 1891 Robert Blatchford and several of his colleagues resigned from the staff of Manchester's Evening Chronicle. They wished to advocate socialism, something the Chronicle's proprietor was not so keen on.

They set up and launched a new paper they called The Clarion. An impromptu distribution network developed by its readers became the Clarion Cycling Club. The paper aimed not just to report events and advocate socialist solutions. Its readers groups formed clubs dedicated to leisure and educational pursuits. This led to a new monthly publication, The Scout, whose purpose was to support the activists of the cultural movement which its readers were developing. Included here are some articles from the Scout.

The Clarion movement thrived in the 1890s and early 1900s, but Blatchford's support for British militarism in the First World War disenchanted much of its readership. The paper was published until 1934 but after the war it never regained its significance as a creative force in the socialist movement.


Related Objects of the Month

April 2014: Clarion Summer Number 1892

Signatures from the Clarion Summer number 1982On 28 February 2014 the Working Class Movement Library welcomed members of the London Clarion Cycling Club as they presented this unique edition of ‘The Clarion Summer Number 1892'. Inside are signatures from four regular journalists for the Clarion newspaper, including that of its founder, Robert Blatchford

November 2013: Living Wage

The living wage and the law of supply and demand: a letter to the colliers -This pamphlet, on the current hot topic of the living wage, was published in 1893, written by Robert Blatchford, editor of The Clarion.


Resources about the Clarion movement in the library collection:

Denis Pye, Fellowship is life: the story of the Clarion Cycling Club (2004) - Shelfmark: AG Clarion Box 2

Logie Barrow and Ian Bullock, Democratic ideas and the British labour movement, 1880-1914 (1996) [Chapter 4 – The rise and fall of the Clarion Federation] - Shelfmark: I40

Laurence Thompson, Robert Blatchford - portrait of an Englishman (1951) - Shelfmark: B05

Thesis - The Clarion, cycling and nascent socialism (1990) - Shelfmark: JS THESES Box 4

Copies of The Clarion newspaper from 1891 to 1929 - incomplete holdings, but a good run between 1896 and 1901 - Shelfmark: R32, AC Newspapers and AG Clarion

Scrapbooks of photographs etc from the Bolton Clarion Cycling Club 1896-1966 - Shelfmark: AG Clarion Oversized Box 1

Fabric Cycling Club meet badges

Robert Blatchford, The clarion ballads (1896)  - Shelfmark: AG Clarion Box 1