My book entitled ‘Thomas Arthur Leonard and the Co-operative Holidays Association’ was published  by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in hardback on 1 January 2017 and is now available in paperback direct from the publishers at a reduced price of £29.99.   To read a full summary of the book and a 30-page sample extract, and purchase a copy, please visit the following link:

The book details the life, achievements and influence on the outdoor movement of Thomas Arthur Leonard, an extraordinary man, who was appalled by the dull and grim lives of artisans and textile workers in the industrial north of England and promoted healthy recreation in the countryside as an antidote to the increasing urbanization and industrialization of Britain and as an alternative to the commercial exploitation of increasing leisure time.  As well as founding the CHA in 1893 and the Holiday Fellowship in 1913, Leonard was instrumental in the establishment of the YHA in 1930 and the formation of the Ramblers’ Association in 1935, of which he was the first President.  He was a stalwart of the campaign for national parks during the 1930s and he campaigned with Tom Stephenson for a long distance footpath along the crest of the Pennines.  He was a founder member of the Friends of the Lake District in 1934.  On his death in 1948, he was hailed as the “Founder of co-operative and communal holidays” and “Father of the open-air movement in this county”.

The book also tells the story of the CHA from its foundation in 1893 to its demise in 2004.  It describes how the CHA faced the challenges of the twentieth century.  It records the genesis, successes, failures and eventual demise of an organisation that lasted for over a century, a century of great social, political and economic upheaval, and how it continued to provide holidays for thousands of people based on healthy recreation and quiet enjoyment, and the principles of friendship and fellowship.

The following papers have resulted from my doctoral research at the University of Cumbria:

  •  An article entitled ‘Of Fells and Fellowship: the life and legacy of T A Leonard’ in Cumbria Magazine, Vol. 59, No. 7, October 2009 (County Publications Ltd);
  •  A paper on ‘Rational and Improving Holidays: Changes and continuities in the provision of accommodation for outdoor activities in the twentieth century’ to the Leisure Studies Association conference in April 2010 at the University of Bolton, published in the conference proceedings Recording Leisure Lives: Holidays and Tourism in 20th Century Britain edited by Robert Snape & Daniel Smith (LSA Publication No.112);
  •  An article on Thomas Arthur Leonard (1864-1948), founder of the CHA and HF, published in the on-line Oxford Dictionary of National Biography in May 2013 (Reference 104775);
  •  A paper to the North-West Network Sport and Leisure History Workshop of the British Society of Sports History (BSSH) held at MMU Crewe in November 2012 entitled ‘Pen and paper quizzes, games and dances: holiday making with the Co-operative Holidays Association and Holiday Fellowship’, published in Sport and Leisure Histories by Manchester Metropolitan University in 2013;
  •  A paper entitled ‘International Friendships with the Co-operative Holidays Association’ to the symposium on Sport and Leisure on the Eve of the First World War, held at MMU Crewe on 27th/28th June 2014 and hosted by MMU Sport and Leisure History Research Group in conjunction with the BSSH, published in Sport and Leisure on the Eve of the First World War, by MMU Sport and Leisure History (SpLeisH), and edited by Dave Day, in 2016
  •  A paper entitled ‘The democratisation of tourism in the English Lake District: the role of the Co-operative Holidays Association and the Holiday Fellowship’ published in the Journal of Tourism History (Volume 8 Number 2), August 2016, by Taylor and Francis:
  • An article entitled ‘A Boating Disaster on the Mawddach Estuary in 1894’ published in the Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society, 2019.