Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum // Tolpuddle

Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum

This museum tells the harrowing tale of the Martyrs arrest, trial and punishment, set out in four sections.

This small museum tells the history of six local agricultural labourers and their attempt to form a society to fight against falling wages for farm workers. Their mistake was to take an oath of secrecy, illegal at the time, for which they were tried and sentenced to 7 years transportation to the penal colonies. The harsh punishment of the six martyrs led to protests around the country, which were a significant factor in the development of the modern day trade union movement.

On the centenary of the martyr's sentencing, the TUC built six cottages in Tolpuddle, to house retired agricultural workers. The library connected to the cottages became home to a collection of artefacts, documents and memorabilia connected to the Tolpuddle Martyr’s story, and the museum we see today was opened in 2000.

The entire display is housed in one room, divided into sections telling the story of the arrest, the oath and betrayal, transportation and homecoming of the martyrs. The museum has touch-screen displays and tells the story of the six men through a series of banners and displays. Voice-overs from Tony Robinson (who portrayed the underdog Baldrick in the Blackadder TV series) provide added interest. Visitor numbers are limited.

A visit to the museum and village can be enhanced by downloading the free Tolpuddle App, narrated by Maxine Peake. Tablets for downloading the app can be borrowed from the museum.

Today, as well as providing a window into the lives of those living in harsher times, the museum has become a place of pilgrimage for trade unionists from around the country.

Parking and admission to the museum are free, and there are toilets, a vending machine and a small souvenir shop on site.

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