Born and brought up in a small village in South Yorkshire, and educated at the King’s School, Pontefract, the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and the Leeds School of Town Planning, I have lived and worked in the Scottish Borders for the past forty years pursuing a career in town and country planning. I have spent a lifetime hill walking and climbing in Wales, Scotland and the English Lake District and been actively involved in mountain rescue. Following early retirement, I obtained an MA in Lake District Studies, with distinction, at the University of Lancaster in 2008 and a PhD in Cultural History in February 2015, following five years of doctoral research at the University of Cumbria. I am now embarking on further research for a book on T A Leonard and the history of the CHA.
My doctoral research at the University of Cumbria is focused on two organisations that pioneered the provision of outdoor holidays for working people in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the Co-operative Holidays Association (CHA) and Holiday Fellowship (HF), both founded by Thomas Arthur Leonard, in 1893 and 1913 respectively. The research explores how these two organisations dealt with the far reaching changes in social, economic and cultural conditions experienced during the twentieth century. My PhD thesis is entitled: Whatever happened to ‘rational’ holidays for working people, c.1919-2000: The competing demands of altruism and commercial necessity in the Co-operative Holidays Association and Holiday Fellowship.
I have written a number of articles related to my research. My article entitled ‘Of Fells and Fellowship: the life and legacy of T A Leonard’ in the October 2009 edition of Cumbria magazine provides a short account of the origins of the CHA and HF. My paper on ‘Rational and Improving Holidays’ to the Leisure Studies Association conference in April 2010 was published in the conference proceedings Recording Leisure Lives: Holidays and Tourism in 20th Century Britain (LSA Publication No. 112). My paper on ‘Holiday making with the Co-operative Holidays Association and Holiday Fellowship’ to the symposium organised by the North-West Branch of the British Society of Sports History, held in November 2012, was published in the Manchester Metropolitan University publication Sport and Leisure Histories in 2013.
Thomas Arthur Leonard, founder of the Co-operative Holidays Association and Holiday Fellowship was born at 50 Tabernacle Walk, Finsbury, London on 12th March 1864. He died at his home ‘Wayside’ in Conwy, North Wales on 19th July 1948.
By common consent, the CHA originated in 1891 when T A Leonard, Minister of the Dockray Square Congregational Church in Colne, Lancashire, took 32 members of the church’s social guild on a four day’s holiday to Ambleside in the English Lake District.
T A Leonard resigned from the CHA in 1913 to form the Holiday Fellowship in a renewed effort to establish holidays that would be genuinely working-class in appeal and composition. The split with the CHA was amicable and there was no thought of competition between the two organisations.
There is a wide-ranging bibliography of books, Government reports, journal articles, theses and dissertations relevant to the study of ‘Rational’ holidays and the history of the Co-operative Holidays Association and Holiday Fellowship.