G. H. B. Ward

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

George Herbert Bridges Ward, known as G. H. B. Ward or Bert Ward (1876 - 14 October 1957) was an activist for walkers' rights and a Labour Party politician.

Born in central Sheffield, Ward worked as an engineer in a local steelworks.[1] In 1900, he founded the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers,[2] recognised as the first working class rambling club,[3] with a walk around Kinder Scout.[2] The club was named for The Clarion socialist newspaper.[4]

The Clarion Rambling Club became the chief organisation campaigning for public access to the moorland areas of the Dark Peak.[2] As early as 1907, Ward participated in an illegal mass trespass of Bleaklow, a forerunner of the 1932 Mass trespass of Kinder Scout.[5]

The Club also affiliated with the Labour Representation Committee,[2] forerunner of the Labour Party. Ward became the first Secretary of the Sheffield Labour Representation Committee, on which he represented the Amalgamated Society of Engineers,[6] later becoming Chair.[7] A major political interest was his campaign against infant mortality, calling for increased supervision of midwives and the milk supply and for education of mothers.[8]

In 1910, Ward became the founding editor of the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers Club Handbook, which he used to describe the history and lore of the Peak District and South Yorkshire. He also successfully campaigned for the Ordnance Survey to amend some place names, and was involved in founding the Hunter Archaeological Society.[5] He also revised John Derry's Across the Derbyshire Moors.[1]

Ward's Piece on Lose Hill
Ward's Piece

In 1912, Ward formed the Hallamshire Footpath Preservation Society,[1] and in 1926 he founded the Sheffield and District Federation of the Ramblers Association. An area of Lose Hill, in the Peak District, was given to him by the Association in 1945 and named "Ward's Piece"; he subsequently presented this to the National Trust. Ward also worked on the purchase of the Longshaw Estate, and was a founder member of the local Youth Hostel Association.[1]

Late in life, Ward began working at the Ministry of Labour, and retired in 1941 to his house at Owler Bar. In 1957, the University of Sheffield gave Ward an honorary degree of Master of Arts.[1] Ward chaired the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers until his death later in the year.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Local history Archived 15 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine", Dore to Door, Spring 2001
  2. ^ a b c d e Bill Bevan, From Cairns to Craters: Conservation Heritage Assessment of Burbage, 2006
  3. ^ "Scout's honour", Guardian Unlimited, 17 April 2002
  4. ^ Timeline: A Walking History Archived 6 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Ramblers Association
  5. ^ a b Julie Bunting, "Review of George Herbert Bridges Ward's book The Best of the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers' Handbooks"[permanent dead link], Peak Advertiser, 13 January 2003
  6. ^ J. Mendelson, W. Owen, S. Pollard and V. M. Thornes, The Sheffield Trades and Labour Council 1858 - 1958
  7. ^ Sidney Pollard, A History of Labour in Sheffield
  8. ^ Ed. Clyde Binfield et al., The History of the City of Sheffield: Volume I: Politics

External links[edit]