In the 1830s, life for farm workers was hard and they could not bear more cuts to their pay. In Dorset they organised a union to fight back but this brought harsh punishments. People around the country campaigned and won the freedom of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.
In 1834, farm workers in west Dorset formed a trade union. Unions were lawful and growing fast but six leaders of the union were arrested and sentenced to seven years’ transportation for taking an oath of secrecy. The Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum tells the harrowing tale of the Martyrs arrest, trial and punishment, leading to the foundation of modern day trade unionism.
Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival
There has been an annual gathering since the 1930s. It began as a Sunday afternoon event with wreaths laid on the grave of James Hammett, followed by a procession of banners and speeches about the Martyrs. Today, the annual event sees thousands of trade unionists from around the world descend on the small village of Tolpuddle, to celebrate the legacy they left behind.

2022 Festival

It's going to be the best one yet
Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival 2022 15-17 July

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31 Aug 2021

Songs from the States – Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival 2021

Unbelievable that the Bank of England Governor has repeated calls for workers to take a wage hit - while saying virtually nothing about soaring profits at the likes of BP and Shell.

The last thing working people need right now is to have their wages held down.

Pippa Crerar@PippaCrerar

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey repeats his call for workers to "reflect carefully" about taking a pay rise amid concerns it could fuel inflation but says "everyone must make their own judgement".