Thursday 24 June 2010

Tolpuddle - London 1948

Three hundred Dorset men and women marched through the streets of London on Sunday 20th March 1948, to honour the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who had 114 years previously been sentenced to transportation for founding a trade union.

The marchers from Dorset also saw a special performance of Unity Theatres "Six Men of Dorset"

The marchers were all members of the Dorset County National Union of Agricultural Workers,

The procession retraced the steps of those in 1834 who had held a protest in London against the sentences.

Led by the London workers pipe Band, the drum major swirling his mace high into the air, the Tolpuddle branch banner came next, surrounded by stalwarts of the Trade Union and Labour Movement in Dorset. - Aldeman Reeves of Poole, Councillor J. Moore of Dorchester, MacFlemington of Tolpuddle, Arthur Jordan NUAW Organiser Dorset, Julius Jacobs Secretary of London Trades Council, David Tree Unity Theatre and Mr Norman Kennedy of the Building Workers Trade Union, H. Collinson Exec of NAWU.


Mr Stark of Affpuddle carried the Tolpuddle banner, and Mr J. Lovell the Dorchester banner, other Dorset banners included Broadwey, Halstock, Puddle valley, Cerne Abbas, Puddletown, Bloxworth, Whitechurch, Blandford, Witchamptton, Tarrant Rushton, and Kingston.

The original Tolpuddle banner was on inspection found to be too tattered to be brought along.

Poster on the march included "Homes not Hovels", " We demand £6 for farm workers", "We grow your food help us get justice"

They held a brief meeting in Trafalgar Square where Arthur Jordan stated that he hoped that "the Londoners realised the farm workers were as class-conscious as they were"

"The Tolpuddle Martyrs were sentenced for taking an unlawful there are martyrs in Whitehall who are to be persecuted for holding political views which the dominant classes do not agree"

Mrs E Richardson of Dorchester, a niece of George Loveless, one of the men transported was also present.

Based on article Dorset County Chronicle 25th March 1948