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Virtual Tolpuddle 2020 - Radical History School
Event details
Tue, 16 Jun 2020 - 19:00 to
Sun, 30 Aug 2020 - 20:00

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 is bigger than before, with plenty of opportunities to learn lessons from the past. 

All sessions will be run through the Zoom Meetings platform. Join in the conversation by registering to attend the lectures.

Some sessions will also be live-streamed  across our social media platforms during the Festival weekend (17-19th July 2020), including on Facebook and Youtube

For more information visit: 

Sessions include: 


  • Exploring criminal lives: (Friday 17th July, 3.00 - 4.00pm)
    Register here

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. 


  • Putting the 'radical' in history: Jules Michelet (Saturday 18th July, 11.00am - 12noon)
    Register here

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.


  • The Great Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common (Saturday 18th July, 3.00 - 4.00pm)
    Register here

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. 


  • Movers and shakers: who moves history? (Tuesday 21th July, 7.00 - 8.00pm)
    Register here

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


  • Towards inclusive radical history (Tuesday 28th July, 7.00 - 8.00pm)
    Register here

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


  • Colonial history education: the Mayflower 400 commemorations (Tuesday 4th August, 7.00 - 8.00pm)
    Register here

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".


  • The Sylvia Pankhurst Handbook (Tuesday 11 August, 7.00 - 8.00pm) 
    Register here

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. 


  • Whose heritage is it anyway?: commemorating radical movements (Tuesday 18th August, 7.00 - 8.00pm)
    Register here

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?


  • Workplace surveillance - then and now (Tuesday 25th August, 7.00 - 8.00pm)
    Register here

​​​​​​​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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