Thursday 6 January 2022

Clarion Field Clubs Established 1895

Clarion Field Clubs Established 1895

Harry Lowerison

As conductor of the Clarion field clubs, I am often asked to give advice as to how to start a field club. Well, in nearly every large town in England there are such clubs already in existence, and, if circumstances permit, the beginning cannot do better than join the nearest. But let us take an individual who cannot do so, and review the possibility's. A letter to the local paper will generally make one man two or three, and

“While three men hold together

The kingdoms are less by three “

kingdoms of ignorance, or other. A meeting should then be held to arrange for the excursions and study. I am assuming that all are poor, an ignorant of field subjects. Henslow’s “botany for beginners “ should be bought and at every ramble one of the flowers described should be carefully examined with the aid of the book. That and Nature diary to be begun at once will be quite sufficient for a start as funds come in John’s “birds” and “trees” should be bought and one or two should specialise on these subjects; then Geikie’s “Primer of Geology” And so on. But I have given lists of books under every subject you will be likely to begin with.

As to rules. I printed this for our Clarion clubs at their inception very them as you will: they have been sufficient for our needs

Let us keep our rules as few and simple as possible. I suggest these for your approval or otherwise

1 - This club shall be called the “Clarion” field club

2 - Its objective shall be to diffuse a love and knowledge of the animal and plant life of the fields, of the old time remains that are left to us, of folklore, and generally of the out of door world

3 - The Clarion field club will cooperate to the best of its ability with the RSPCA the Society for the protection of birds the Commons Preservation Society, the National Footpath Preservation Society, the Selborne Society, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Humanitarian League and kindred associations

4 - There shall be no fees, entrance or other, but each member shall bear all the cost of self incurred postage

5 - Members shall be a) ordinary and b) corresponding. The latter shall make a specialty of some subject or subjects and undertake to the best of their power to answer prepaid inquiries

As socialists, we cannot get away from rule 3. It is our duty to hand on our heritage of commons, footpaths, grand old buildings, wild birds and even flowers intact to those that come after

Promptly on seeing a common enclosed, a footpath stopped, a fine old building defaced, a bird shot in breeding time, the Clarion field man will write to the Society likely to interfere and prevent such unsocial acts.

Concerning rule 4, it will probably be found in practise that when we get local clubs founded they can best serve their own purposes by charging a small fee for local needs; but in any case it ought not to exceed a shilling a year

I want to hear from members who are willing to take local secretaryship. No special knowledge is essential, but a certain amount of enthusiasm is; and the power to organise

In London we shall have Saturday afternoons or Sunday rambles and short papers read in the open air. As soon as the leaves are green on the beaches in Monkwood we will have our inaugural meeting there (Epping Forest) and I promise you a paper on the forest, its history, prehistoric earthworks, animals and plants. Cooperative travelling is cheap and we shall carry our own food I hope. Provincial societies will I suppose travel along similar lines. So shall we all arrive.

The Burnley Clarion field club have added three rules - Tolerance, Honour, and Punctuality. Given these are the desire to know, and you will learn - slowly but certainly and, ever as you learn, your wonder and your reverence will grow. Every church, every school, every cooperative and Socialist society should have its field club. 

We read and think too much we rest assimilate too little.

“Think you, ‘mid all this mighty sum

Of things for ever speaking,

That nothing of itself will come,

But we must still be seeking,”


“One impulse from a vernal wood

May teach you more of man,

Of moral evil and of good,

then all the sages can.”

Source: “In England Now” by Harry Lowerison 1898