Page last updated 06.06.2015
The ILP in Nelson
The Nelson branch of the ILP was formed in 1893, one of the first and eventually the second largest branch in the country.
The magnificent stone building costing £3,000 was opened on the
28th of March 1908.
The opening ceremony was performed by Philip Snowden M.P. and was followed by a Tea and Social for 600 people.
Two stained glass windows were situated above the main entrance, together with a stone lintel proclaiming: “Socialism Our Hope.”
Both of the windows have been preserved, one of the windows is on loan to the People's History Museum Bridge Street, Manchester. The other window of the pair is placed in an honoured position in the Nelson ILP Land Society Clarion House (images of the windows are on our CD-ROM).
The ground floor containing a grand entrance and stairs, cloakroom, bathroom and toilets, reading room, library, committee rooms, school rooms, billiard room and kitchen.
The decline of the ILP in Nelson mirrored the national decline of the ILP and as a consequence the institute is now used to serve a wider community.
The Nelson ILP branch, the members of which were mainly cotton workers, rented a cottage (Thorneyholme Square) in 1899 to allow its members to escape the polluted air of mills and towns.
The out of town venue was used to promote good health and stimulate socialist fellowship.
The Independent Land Society was formed in 1910 raising money from ILP members through the purchase of £1 shares.
A plot of land was purchased at Jinney Lane, the Nelson Weavers Association loaned the Land Society the money needed to build the present Clarion House.
Both the land and the building are still held in trust by the Land Society.