Tom De Wit, Curator of the Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum, visits the TUC Library

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Jeff Howarth (left), librarian of the TUC Library, and Tom looking at photos of the Tolpuddle Martyrs museum and cottages.

Today we had the pleasure of welcoming Tom De Wit, Curator of the Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum, to the TUC Library. Tom was visiting to meet the staff and have a tour round our collections. The Tolpuddle Martyrs were a group of six agricultural workers from the village of Tolpuddle in Dorset. In 1834 they were found guilty of “swearing an illegal oath” after joining together to form a union – the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers – in order to protest against the lowering of wages. The men were transported to Australia for their crime, but public outrage eventually led to their pardon and return. Hundreds of thousands signed a petition demanding the Martyrs release and one of the most significant mass political marches of the 19th century took place from Copenhagen Fields in Islington, north London, to deliver the petition to the Home Secretary (see image below).

The Copenhagen Fields demonstration, 1834

You can see more images relating to the Tolpuddle Martyrs on our website here, here and here.

 

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