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.

Running before, during and after the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Virtual Festival 2020, this year's school offers a chance to learn lessons from the past. All sessions will be run through Zoom. 

We invite as many of our Tolpuddle friends to get involved by registering below. 

Missed one? Don't worry, we'll be adding information below each image of where you can watch it all over again. 


Coming up...

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.

The discussion will then explore connections between employers' surveillance then and the methods now used in the modern working world.

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Sylvia Pankhurst activist handbook 13 October

Tuesday 13th October 7.00pm - 8.00pm 
The Sylvia Pankhurst Handbook
with Dr Rachel Holmes

This talk analyses Pankhurt's methods for organising and campaigning for public health care, civil liberties and the defence of democracy against facism in times of extreme national and international crisis.

Register to join here


Watch your favourite lectures again 


Tolpuddle Stories

Hidden stories of the Tolpuddle Martyrs

In this test-run for the online Radical History School, 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

In this webinar, 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. 


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. 

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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.

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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. 

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The movers and shakers of history

Tuesday 21th July, 7.00 - 8.00pm
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.

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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."  

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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.
How did activists and propagandists use the triumph and tragedy of past experience to energise and strengthen their own campaigns; how should we understand the politics of radical memory; and what is the best way to make heritage from below today?

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Thank you