Kinder Trespass: Exhibition shows Sheffield ramblers of 1920s and 30s who took part in mass protest

Pictures of Sheffield ramblers from the 1920s and 30s who took part in the famous Kinder Trespass are going on display in Dronfield.

By Julia Armstrong
Friday, 8th April 2022, 3:03 pm
Updated Friday, 8th April 2022, 3:04 pm

Days of Sunshine and Rain – Rambling in the 1920s and 30s is a free exhibition of old photographs taken from the walking journals of rambler George Willis Marshall.

The exhibition runs from April 18 to 22, 10am-4pm, at Dronfield Hall Barn, Dronfield High Street.

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A picture taken by George Willis Marshall at Sallet Hole Mine, Coombes Dale in the Peak District on July 6, 1924. It is on display as part of an exhibition, Days of Sunshine and Rain - Rambling in the 1920s and 30s, at Dronfield Hall Barn on April 18-22

The exhibition has been organised by Sheffield writer and artist Ann Beedham, who wrote a book of the same title as the exhibition.

She said: “George Willis Marshall (1904-1992), known to his friends and family as Willis, lived in Sheffield.

“Roaming the Peak District and Derbyshire was his great love and he and his friends went forth in sunshine and rain, roaming hills and dales, often sleeping in haystacks or under the stars.

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A picture taken by George Willis Marshall in Jaggers Clough in the Peak District on October 28, 1923. It is on display as part of an exhibition, Days of Sunshine and Rain - Rambling in the 1920s and 30s, at Dronfield Hall Barn on April 18-22

“Willis kept a journal of these walks, dotted with sketches, as well as quotes from his favourite poems.

“He and his pals also took lots of pictures, now an evocative piece of social history, reflecting a bygone time when people rambled in tweed suits and with hobnails hammered into their boots.

“His rambling journals evoke that simpler time called youth, when the world is at your feet and the days call forth to adventure. But Willis and his friends were not just romantic ramblers, they also held a strong belief in freedom to roam.

“They walked with GHB Ward and the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers, seen on some of the photographs. They also took part in the Famous Kinder Trespass of April 24, 1932.

“Willis was also a friend of Randolph Douglas, a Sheffield man who gave Houdini his most famous escape idea, the upside-down straitjacket escape. Wills met Houdini several times at the Douglas household.

“This exhibition takes us back with Willis and his pals, to their days of rambling, adventure and heartwarming friendship in the 1920s.”

The Kinder Mass Trespass involved hundreds of people who were protesting for the right to roam on private land, clashing with gamekeepers working for big landowners.

To find out more about Ann’s work, including Randini, her book on Randolph Douglas, go to annbeedham.com.