Arrests and Trial
As the protesters returned to the village of Hayfield, five ramblers were arrested by police, and were taken to the Hayfield Lock-up to join a protester arrested at the scene of the scuffle.
The arrested ramblers were:
John Anderson, a cotton piecer, aged 21 (Arrested at the scene of the scuffle)
Julius (Jud) Clyne, aged 23
Arthur Walter (Tona) Gillett, aged 19
Harry Mendel, aged 22
David Nussbaum, aged 19
Bernard (Benny) Rothman, aged 20
Hayfield Parish Council Office 'Lock-up'
A body of ramblers waited outside the lock-up expecting the release of the arrested protesters. When nothing happened an elected spokes person for the protesters hammered on the door and offered bail on the arrestees behalf. The situation was becoming fraught and the six were smuggled out of the lock-up and taken to New Mills Police Station where they were kept overnight, while there identites were established.
The day after the trespass, the arrested ramblers were charged at New Mills Police Court with unlawful assembly and breach of the peace.
All six subsequently pleaded not guilty and were remanded to be tried at Derby Assizes – 60 miles from the ramblers’ homes – on 7th and 8th July 1932. Five of the six were found guilty and were jailed for between two and six months. Harry Mendel was discharge due to lack of evidence against him.
The arrest and subsequent imprisonment of the trespassers unleashed a huge wave of public sympathy, and ironically united the ramblers cause.
At the trial Benny Rothman's defence was a masterpiece of open-air working class rhetoric:' We ramblers, after a hard week's work in smoky towns and cities, go out rambling for relaxation, a breath of fresh air, a little sunshine. But we find when we go out that the finest rambling country is closed to us, just because certain individuals wish to shoot for about ten days a year'.
It was the severity of the sentences and the subsequent imprisonment of the trespassers that unleashed a huge wave of public sympathy, and ironically united the ramblers cause. Even those opposed to the trespass were appalled. The Sheffield Clarion handbook for 1932 reported the stiff sentences 'did not bring laurels to the other side'.
John Anderson, 6 months for assault as well as riot
Julius (Jud) Clynes, 2 months for riot and inciting riot and assault
Arthur Walter (Tona) Gillett, 2 months for riot
David Nussbaum, 3 months for riot and inciting unlawful trespass
Bernard (Benny) Rothman, 3 months for riot and inciting riot and assault
A few weeks later in 1932 10,000 ramblers – the largest number in history – assembled for an access rally in the Winnats Pass, near Castleton, and the pressure for greater access continued to grow. There was also a trespass at Abbey Brook near Bradfield in September 1932.
The original court statement and the personal notes made by Benny Rothman can be found in the Benny Rothman Archives at Working Class Movement Library in Salford.