top of page
  • Writer's pictureLondon Clarion Cycle Club

Clarion Houses and the Last Clarion House near Pendle in Lancashire.

Clarion Houses, also known as Clarion Clubhouses, originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as part of the Clarion movement. The Clarion Houses served as social centres and rest stops for cyclists, walkers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, promoting fellowship and socialist ideals. They provided affordable refreshments, literature, and a space for relaxation and camaraderie in rural settings. The ethos was to encourage healthy recreation and political discussion.


Clarion Houses typically featured simple, rustic structures located in scenic countryside areas, reflecting the movement's emphasis on nature and outdoor activities. These houses often included tea rooms, reading rooms, and spaces for meetings and social gatherings. Activities at Clarion Houses ranged from cycling and hiking to lectures and discussions on socialism and social justice. There were Clarion House spread across the country including in Handforth, Liverpool, Yorkshire and a London Clarion House in what is now in Nazeing, Essex.   


The last surviving Clarion House, located near Pendle in Lancashire. Situated in the picturesque area of Newchurch-in-Pendle, this Clarion House has been in continuous operation since 1912. It remains a symbol of the movement's historical impact and serves as a living museum to the ideals and lifestyle promoted by the Clarion movement.


Clarion House near Pendle, Clarion Sunday 2022

The Pendle Clarion House, also known as the Nelson ILP (Independent Labour Party) Clarion House, is nestled in the heart of the Pendle countryside, offering stunning views and a tranquil environment. It continues to function as a rest stop for walkers and cyclists, much like it did over a century ago. Visitors can enjoy a pint mug of tea, browse through historical displays, and soak in the rich heritage of the Clarion movement.


The building itself is a modest, single-story structure with a simple interior that reflects its historical roots. Inside, memorabilia and photographs adorn the walls, showcasing the history of the Clarion movement and the pivotal role played by these houses in promoting socialist values and community spirit.


Efforts to preserve the last Clarion House are driven by dedicated volunteers and local enthusiasts who recognize its historical and cultural significance. The house is maintained by the Nelson ILP Land Society, which ensures that it remains a vibrant part of the local community and a destination for those interested in the history of socialism in Britain.


In recent years, the Pendle Clarion House has gained recognition not only as a historical landmark but also as a cultural treasure, representing a bygone era of social activism and communal living. It continues to attract visitors from across the country and beyond, offering a unique glimpse into the past and an opportunity to connect with the enduring values of the Clarion movement.


The Clarion Houses played a crucial role in the social and political landscape of early 20th-century Britain, fostering a sense of community and promoting socialist ideals. The last Clarion House near Pendle stands as a proud reminder of this heritage, preserving the spirit of the movement and providing a historical sanctuary for visitors. Through the efforts of dedicated volunteers and the local community, this historic site continues to inspire and educate, ensuring that the legacy of the Clarion movement lives on.


Clarion Sunday the biggest gathering of Clarion Cyclists and Choirs is taking place on 22nd September this year.


Here is a photograph of a recently discovered handbook from the Yorkshire Clarion House dating back to c1910.

Yorkshire Clarion Clubhouse booklet part of the London Clarion Cycle Club archive

36 views0 comments


bottom of page