The Radical History School 

The Radical History School is an important part of the Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival. Open to all, it is a great chance to learn more about radical and trade union history.

All sessions will be run on Zoom as well as live-streamed on either our Facebook page or Youtube channel. Sign up to the next monthly installment below or catch up on the ones you missed. 


Coming up...


Clare GriffithsTuesday, 9 March 2021
7.00-8.00 pm

Six Men of Dorset: the Tolpuddle Martyrs and the making of a legacy

Professor Clare Griffiths
has tracked the way the Tolpuddle Story has been told and gives her views.

They didn't die for their cause; they didn't organise a strike; many others had been transported; imprisoned and even killed for taking on the bosses.  So why did the TUC choose to remember the Story of six farm workers from Tolpuddle?

Register to join here 


Gods Beautiful Sunshine
Tuesday, 13 April 2021
7.00-8.00 pm

God's Beautiful Sunshine

Ian Wright talks about his book. Telling the story 100 years ago when 6,000 miners endured a lockout after resisting wage cuts.

Register to join here 


Catch up on the ones you missed


Atlantic Slavery and its Legacy

Madge Dresser has long been involved in researching, teaching and broadcasting about the history of Atlantic slavery, immigration, ethnic relations, women and the labour movement. 

For this lecture, Madge will look at some of the lesser-known legacies of Atlantic slavery and how it relates to the history of white working class Britain.

Watch again here 








The 1921 Poplar Rates Strike

The 1921 Poplar Rates Strike

Janine Booth tells the story of a working-class borough’s fightback against austerity and thirty councillors who went to prison for refusing to levy rates that their citizens could not afford to pay. Celebrate the centenary of an inspiring struggle which holds lessons for today.

Watch again here

Radical libraries and archives reimagined 
Radical libraries and archives - reimagined

The COVID crisis has led radical libraries and archivists to explore new ways to help people access resources and tell the stories of our social history. In this lecture, we bring together some of the key libraries in the country on radical history to explain and discuss their work.
Watch again here
With :
> Jeff Howarth, TUC Library 
> Lynette Cawthra, Working Class Movement Library
> Meirian Jump, Marx Memorial Library 


Ernest Bevin: Labour's Churchill 
Ernest Bevin: Labour’s Churchill

In conversation with Lord Andrew Adonis on his latest book about the trade union and Labour giant Ernie Bevin, with the TUC's General Secretary Frances O'Grady.
Watch again here 

The Sylvia Pankhurst Handbook

The Sylvia Pankhurst Activist Handbook

With writer, historian and biographer Dr Rachel Holmes on Sylvia Pankhurst's methods for organising and campaigning.
Watch again here


Whose heritage is it anyway?: commemorating radical movements 

Steve Poole's talk looks at the way in which radical political movements in Britain, from corresponding societies of the 1790s to the Chartists in the 1840s have commemorated the struggle to create a democratic commonwealth.
Watch again

Workplace surveillance_then and now

Workplace surveillance - then and now 

Since workers began to organise, employers have spied on them. This talk from Steven Parfitt will look at how American employers used detectives and agents to disrupt unions between 1860 and 1920.
Watch again


Exploring criminal lives: online resources for history from below

In this webinar, Dr Rose Wallis, a senior lecturer in British Social History considers how we can use the records of government and criminal justice to explore the lived experience of ordinary men and women in the past. And while we're unable to access archives, what online resources are available to us. 
Watch again 

Putting the 'radical' in history: Jules Michelet

Dr John Callow, a senior research fellow at the University of Suffolk has written widely on popular cultures and the history of the Labour movement. Here, he considers Jules Michelet's roles in radicalising history.
Watch again 


The Great Chartist Meeting with David Steele

The Great Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common
with David Steele.

1848 was the ‘Year of Revolution’ across Europe with monarchies falling like dominoes. In Britain, the Chartist movement underwent a resurgence with a planned mass meeting on Kennington Common. This was met with an overwhelming show of military force resulting in the apparent waning of the reform movement. In this talk, David explores the build-up and events of April 10th 1848 and argues this event should not be denigrated as a failure. 
Watch again

The movers and shakers of history

Movers and shakers: who moves history?

Professor Chris Read joins the History School to explore who really shapes our history, from modern characters to historical figures. 


Towards inclusive radical history

Joanna de Groot explores race, gender and global power in the context of resistance to political and economic exploitation in our history.
Watch again

Colonial history education - the Mayflower 400 commemorations

Angela Sherlock and Danny Reilly look at the establishment of the interlinked New England and Caribbean British colonies, and the historical contexts of land seizure and indigenous population decline, and the creation of a "Mayflower story". Danny Reilly is the co-author of "Telling the Mayflower Story: Thanksgiving or Land Grabbing, Massacres & Slavery."  
Watch again 


Tolpuddle Stories

Hidden stories of the Tolpuddle Martyrs

Les Kennedy invites Nigel Costley, TUC South West Regional Secretary and Tom de Wit, Tolpuddle Museum Manager to talk about aspects of the Tolpuddle Martyrs' story that are less well known and understood.
Watch again here.

Transforming the Festival

Transforming the festival

Tolpuddle organisers, Nigel Costley and Dick Muskett reflect back on the way the Festival has evolved and changed over the years since it's first inception. From car parks to generators and barn-dances, we delve into the stories that helped make the festival what it is today. 
Watch again here.