Selina Cooper from Nelson had previous links with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), which meant that she was ideally placed to be a local organiser for the pilgrimage. She introduced the idea to the Nelson Women’s Section of the Labour Party, explaining the pilgrimage motto: ‘The road to peace – arbitration, security and disarmament.’ A rally was held at the Weavers’ Institute with Selina in the chair, and with speakers from the League of Nations, as well as two former local conscientious objectors, Dan Carradice and Richard Bland.
Two Nelson women, Emily Murgatroyd and Mrs Tiffin, joined the pilgrimage to walk all the way to London. They sent a postcard back to Nelson en route:
‘We landed Oxford at 6 o’clock in the evening so went to Town Hall where the procession had gone and were taken on the platform where the Mayor and others were in full regalia… as the weather had taken up, they decided to have a meeting outside also, where the resolution was passed.’ (1)
For those that could not undertake the whole route, Selina Cooper organised a trip to Manchester to coincide with the arrival of the first marchers to reach London. They set off, with their blue and yellow rosettes, in a charabanc. After the pilgrimage service in Manchester Cathedral they joined a march and demonstration of 2,500 people. The two Nelson pilgrims made it to London for the 19 June rally in Hyde Park.
(1) Postcard from E. Murgatroyd to Mrs Cooper. Archive ref: DDX 1137/3 116, Lancashire Archives.
J. Liddington, 1984. The Life and Times of a Respectable Rebel: Selina Cooper (1864-1946). London: Virago Press.