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Sat, 20 Aug



Salter Centenary Ride to Fairby Grange Kent - 28 miles

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Salter Centenary Ride to Fairby Grange Kent - 28 miles
Salter Centenary Ride to Fairby Grange Kent - 28 miles

Time & Location

20 Aug 2022, 10:00

London, Gomm Rd, London SE16 2TX, UK

About the Event

A leisurely 28 mile ride from Bermondsey to Fairby Grange in Kent (returning by train or cycling back).

Celebrating the Salters throughout 2022 - Bike Ride to Fairby Grange

In 1922 Ada Salter became mayor of Bermondsey and Alfred Salter was elected MP.

This wonderful couple devoted their lives to the environment, housing and public health. They transformed a deprived inner-city area into a healthy green oasis.

In honour of Ada and Alfred, Salter enthusiasts are leading a leisurely ride from Bermondsey to Fairby Grange in Kent (returning by train or cycling back). London Clarion members have been invited to join this ride and we have agreed to help promote this ride which is free for anyone to attend.

Most people know that Alfred Salter was a cyclist, having seen the famous photo of him riding around the area to visit his patients.

Ride Details -

Start Location - Southwark Park

Start Time - 10am

Length - 28 miles (or 56 miles if you decide to cycle back as well).

Elevation Gain 675ft (1350ft)

Avg Ride Speed - 10mph

The story of Fairby Grange

As Quakers, Ada and Alfred Salter always campaigned for peace and against war. They supported Conscientious Objectors, who refused to become soldiers and kill fellow human beings. In 2014 at the start of World War ll, a No-Conscription Fellowship was set up to help COs and their families. It had nearly 10,000 members and helpers. Alfred became its Treasurer, and Ada worked with the Maintenance Department, raising funds for the dependants of COs.

Many COs became seriously ill from the bad treatment they received, and the NCF wanted somewhere that they could convalesce. Ada had long been interested in the small-holdings movement, which encouraged urban workers to grow produce in the countryside and sell it to co-operatives in the cities. The village of Hartley in Kent had a farm and land owned by the small-holdings movement. In 1916 on his country walks, Alfred spotted Fairby Grange up for sale, a beautiful 17th century country house with extensive grounds.

It cost £7,500, but the Salters found wealthy donors among their Quaker community. They bought it and set it up as: 1) a haven for recuperating COs; 2) a pacifist, anti-militarist camp for boys; 3) a co-operative farm that would work with their co-operative bakery in Bermondsey; and 4) after the war, a convalescent home for working women and mothers.

There is a letter from Alfred to one of the potential donors, giving details of how Fairby would be run. It was not intended to make a profit, but would break even by selling farm produce. Bermondsey ILP took possession of Fairby Grange in August 1918, and it was run by a trust of Quakers, with Alfred as general manager.

After the war Ada made use of Fairby, growing fresh vegetables to be sold by the bakery, and trees and flowers to supply her Beautification Committee, making the council self-sufficient in saplings and becoming their ‘sole horticultural supplier’.

In 1923 when the Trust wound up and donated Fairby Grange to Bermondsey Council, it became the first municipal convalescent home for mothers in Britain. It was primarily for mothers recuperating from childbirth and women suffering from ‘exhaustion’. During 1933 for example, 239 mothers had a convalescent stay there.

The Borough sold the building in the 1950s, and it became a retirement home in about 1958.

Salter Centenary Events

Various events are taking place throughout 2022 to celebrate the Salters lives and to help revive the Salter inspiration and their vision for the future. 

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