Saturday, 25 April 2009

Tolpuddle - 175th Anniversary - Copenhagen Fields

Tolpuddle in London - 25th April 2009

175th anniversary of the Grand Tolpuddle Demonstration

In 1834 some 100,000 people joined the Grand Demonstration that marched from Copenhagen Fields (Kings Cross) to Parliament and on to Kennington Common to demand the release of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.

Six Dorset farm workers had been sentenced to seven years' transportation into slavery in Australia for forming a trade union.

The attack on early unions had to be challenged.

A 200,000 strong petition was carried shoulder high and many more poured in from all over the country.

The demonstration was just the start and the government eventually backed down and gave the six men free pardons.

The event in 2009 heard a number of speakers from the Agricultural Workers Union and TUC
Billy Bragg, Graham Moore (who has done much to increase the profile of Tolpuddle), Martin Carthy, Raised Voices choir, Leon Rosselson, Northern Celts Band.

One minutes silence for the great trade union leader and International Brigadier Jack Jones

Well done to Nigel Costley, Dick Muskett and the Crew

The route of the 1834 Tolpuddle - Copenhagen Fields march

In 1834 the area just north east of King’s Cross Railway Station, North London was known as Copenhagen Fields. It is now a 17,000 strong residential community.

In 1834 it was the ideal meeting point for demonstrators supporting the Tolpuddle Martyrs. The Fields stretched from what is now Wharfdale Road right up to the modern Caledonian Park. They marched to Parliament.

The 2009 commemoration march will start at Caledonian Park and end at Edward Square - the length of the original Copenhagen Fields.

The march of 1834 was as the Folk singer Graham Moore stated on a glorious sunny day in the Capital

" held in 1834 in complete silence".

Roll on Tolpuddle in July.