Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival 2017

The main stage outside the Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum

The story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs began in 1834.  Six farm labourers were arrested and charged with taking an illegal oath.

But their real crime was forming a Trade Union to protest against their treatment by the established landowners and the meagre, poverty pay they received.

The arrest, conviction, deportation to Australia, and the campaign to free the Tolpuddle Martyrs is a story that inspires trade unionists everywhere. The story of the Martyrs is commemorated every year, with a festival in the Dorset village of Tolpuddle.

Over the weekend of 14-16th July 2017 trade unionists gathered again to remember those who began the fight, a fight which continues in the 21st Century.

In 1834 George Loveless wrote, “We raise the watchword, liberty. We will, we will, we will be free”, words which continue to inspire workers everywhere to fight injustice and oppression.


Trade Union banners on display all weekend


The Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival shows films in a restored vintage mobile cinema from the days when Tony Benn was Postmaster General

The festival is a celebration of debate, music, comedy, film and speech. On the Sunday of the festival there is a trade union procession through the village.

Trade Union banners ready for the procession
Trade Unionists of all ages


A union band wait for the procession to start
Warming up
Jeremy Corbyn joins the procession


Jeremy Corbyn & Frances O’Grady
Make Votes Matter make a point





Jeremy Corbyn addresses the crowd
The grave of James Hamett, Tolpuddle Martyr


Slide show of photographs by Jess Hurd on the Tolpuddle website



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