Justice Café event: Come to Dorchester – the TUC’s call in 1934

Learn how Weymouth and Dorchester played an unlikely part in the national story of the Trade Union Movement.
In 1934, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) chose the tiny Dorset village of Tolpuddle to host large scale celebrations of the Tolpuddle Martyrs Centenary. The Tolpuddle Martyrs and their Dorset village would become firmly associated with the TUC, the organisation at the heart of the British Trade Union Movement.
Curator of the Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum, Tom de Wit, will be giving a talk at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum on October 25th, called Come to Dorchester – the TUC’s call in 1934, exploring how the TUC used the 1934 events to forever associate themselves with the Martyrs.
Tom, who is also a trustee of Shire Hall, encourages everyone to come along and learn about Dorset’s remarkable place in the history of the TUC.
He said: “In 1934 the TUC made a conscious choice to focus on the Tolpuddle Martyrs story, they had always been associated with Trade Unionism and that story, but the TUC decided to take the leading role in the centenary celebrations.”
Tom added the decision to identify the TUC with the Martyrs, was not without controversy. Some in the Trade Union Movement believed the TUC should be celebrating more actively revolutionary figures.
He said: “The TUC decided to associate themselves with the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ story, but by doing that they were making a statement about what their values were – that sense of fighting against injustice that the Martyrs’ story has.
“But they are also positioning themselves as an organisation that’s not revolutionary or anti-establishment. They are more moderate.”
The Justice Café event will be £5 and start at 7pm. The talk is part of the wider TUC 150th anniversary celebration taking place at Shire Hall from 24 October – 18 November 2018. As part of the exhibition, there will be a 7-metre-long 150th anniversary banner on display in the Grand Jury Room.
For more information visit www.shirehalldorset.org