Tolpuddle Festival 15th to 17th July 2022

John Boyle
For attention of:
31st May 2022
Last updated:
31st May 2022
24th February 2024
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There has been an annual gathering to mark the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs since 1930s

Yet, few if any people attending know the deep roots the Co-op Movement has in the Tolpuddle history and Trade Union Movement.

In February 1834 The Dorset Labourers were arrested and sentenced to transportation to Australia, for swearing an oath, though the real reason was joining a Trade Union to campaign for fairer pay.

It was through the support of the father of Co-operation Robert Owen that a vast demonstration took place on 21st April 1834 in London, to hand in a petition. Up to 100,000 people assembled in Copenhagen Fields near King’s Cross. They were protesting the unjust conviction of those six rural labourers from the Dorset village of Tolpuddle.  The event made a huge impression on the public, partly because of its size but also for the peaceful and disciplined way the unions behaved.

It took some years for the “Martyrs” to be pardoned, but pardoned they were.

1934 on the 100 anniversary the Trade Union Movement organized the first festival, and held one almost every year since.

The Co-operative Party has had a stall at the Festival for the last few years, though we know that members of the Party have been attending since its inception. This year following Covid, the Festival and the Party returns,

Our Party in Dorset has arranged an exhibition stall and our Principle Six Officer John Boyle will be with them, informing members of the wider Labour Movement of the importance of Co-operation and the Party.

If you want a lovely day or weekend out, then check the Tolpuddle link and pop along.

Action Points
  • Tolpuddle
    An annual event, an opportunity to visit a fascinating place with a deep Co-operative history (More)