Fresh air and green space are precious commodities at present. Our Radicals researchers want to honour the pioneers who gave working class people a chance of sharing those bounties. Walking guide author and Pendle Radicals volunteer Nick Burton writes about T A Leonard and the collective joys of rambling and singing.
I’m a rambler, I’m a rambler, from Manchester way,
I get all my pleasure the hard moorland way,
I may be a wage slave on Monday,
But I am a free man on Sunday.
These words are the familiar chorus from Ewan McColl’s celebrated hiking song, The Manchester Rambler. It was a song written soon after and inspired by the Kinder Trespass of 1932 which has become synonymous with rambling. But what ramblers’ songs came before it? After all, rambling and singing were popular with the working classes of the industrial north in the 19th century and the two free communal pursuits went together so naturally. The story of our own Pendle Radical, Thomas Arthur Leonard, provides an interesting insight into how rambling and singing became dovetailed in perfect harmony.