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National Peacemakers’ Pilgrimage 1926

Women from all over Britain march to London on a national pilgrimage for peace

© Archives and Special Collections, Bangor University

This national event, planned by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) alongside many other organisations, took place in summer 1926. There were seven main routes to London from the north of Scotland to Land’s End, from East Anglia to South Wales, which were planned to follow those taken by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies’ pilgrimage in 1913. The finale was to be a huge rally in Hyde Park. A thousand meetings were held in towns and villages on the way. A model declaration to be used at all meetings in connection with the Pilgrimage was shared in the press: ‘We, members and supporters of the Peacemakers’ Pilgrimage, believing that law should take the place of war in the settlement of international disputes, urge his Majesty’s Government to agree to submit all disputes to conciliation or arbitration, and by taking the lead in the proposed Disarmament Conference of the League of Nations, to show that Great Britain does not intend to appeal to force.’ (1)

The peacemakers and the organisations involved in the pilgrimage were hopeful that their activity would lead towards the League of Nations Disarmament Conference. For various reasons, this conference did not take place until 1932 in Geneva. Women like Selina Cooper, who had worked so hard to build the peace, collected many signatures on an ‘International Declaration on World Disarmament’ petition organised by the WILPF to be presented in Geneva.

References/Further Reading:

(1) Lancashire Evening Post, 28 May 1926.

Arming All Sides: the Arms Trade Before, During and After the First World War