After a jail sentence for the trespass, he went on to become heavily involved in the Amalgamated Engineering Union, serving as branch secretary of the trade union for over 20 years.
Benny’s mother was religious, but his father was agnostic. Benny attended cheder but lost interest in his religion at an early age, in part due to his involvement in left-wing politics. His family made him leave school for a job in a garage when he was 15. In the 1930s Benny became a member of the Young Communist League. He is famous for leading the mass trespass on Kinder Scout in 1932 when a reported 400 people protested the countryside being closed to ramblers.
Benny’s father worked as a market trader on Glossop market selling ironmongery. After his father died, on Benny’s twelfth birthday, his mother took over the stall to support the family.
Benny Rothman was born in Manchester in 1911, the middle of five children. His parents, Isaac and Fanny, were both from Romania, but his father came to Manchester from America where he had emigrated as a child. The family lived in Strangeways initially but moved to Hightown just before Benny was born.