Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum
Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum
This modern museum stands at the centre of a row of six cottages built in memory of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. The Memorial Cottages were built in 1934 by the Co-operative Wholesale Society to commemorate the centenary of the Martyrs' trial.

The museum tells the story of the six Tolpuddle farm labourers whose attempt to create a union of local farmworkers resulted in their arrest and transportation, and eventual exoneration and return to Britain.

The museum uses a combination of display panels, interactive touch-screens, and recreations of original newspaper articles to tell the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, whose tribulation proved a vital event in the history of trade unionism.

At the roadside below the museum is a striking modern sculpture by Thompson Dagnall depicting George Loveless in Dorchester prison. The sculpture is inscribed with Loveless's words, “We will, we will, we will be free.”

There is a Tolpuddle Trail which guides visitors around the village to places with a connection to the fateful events of 1834.

I confess I knew little beyond the outline of the Martyrs' story before visiting the museum, and I left with a great appreciation for the courage shown by these simple men with a strong belief in the rightness of their cause.

If you'd like to learn more about the Tolpuddle Martyrs I can highly recommend the book 'Six for the Tolpuddle Martyrs' by Alan Gallop.