Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sepia Saturday 268 : A Tale Of Tolpuddle And A Sepia Revolutionary


Strange as it may seem, I was not actually present at either of the Russian Revolutions of 1905 or 1917 and therefore I am unable to link directly to this week's Sepia Saturday theme image which features a group of demonstrators marching down Nevsky Prospect in Petrograd. After some digging around within my archives I did, however, come up with this photograph I too back in July 1974 at the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival in Dorset. Amongst the various Labour Party and Trade Union banners, I can see one from the Communist Party, so it nudges up to the themes like a paid-up fellow traveller.  The photograph also seems to sum up why we have never had a revolution in this country - although undeniably there have been, and are, times when we could do with one. Compare the angular, strident, determined faces of the Russian demonstrators with the arms-folded, passivity of their British counterparts. And how on earth could you have a meaningful revolution starting in a village with a name like Tolpuddle?

For those who don't know the story, the Tolpuddle Martyrs were a group of six early nineteenth century agricultural workers from the Dorset village who were sentenced to seven years penal transportation to Australia for forming a trade union to fight against wage cuts. The British revolutionary fervour following this harsh sentence was limited to signing petitions, marching with banners and renaming streets after the martyrs and this led to their release after just a couple of years.

As I re-scanned the photograph I took in 1974 I noticed that it was beginning to acquire that sepia tone of age. I am all too familiar with this in photographs of my grandparents and even my parents generation, but this is the first time I have noticed it on one of my photographs. I am beginning to turn sepia. Now that is a thought profound enough to spark a revolution.

You can find more takes on this week's Sepia Saturday theme by visiting the SEPIA SATURDAY BLOG and following the various links.





13 comments:

  1. Interesting! So what do they do at the Tolpuddle Martyrs festival?

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    1. Jo: a little recreational marching, sing a few songs, and drink a lot of beer.

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  2. Oh my! Luckily for me the photo bug hit me later in life, so nothing of mine is old enough to show age. No evidence remains of my revolutionary youth, mild as it was (anti Vietnam War protest).

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  3. Alan, I love shot and such an intriguing group to celebrate. Interesting too that the Tolpuddle Martyrs weren't actually martyred, although seven years penal transport would have probably ended in death for some. Bravo to those who petitioned for their release!

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  4. "a little recreational marching, sing a few songs, and drink a lot of beer." Sounds like a great little gathering!

    By the way, if you're interested, my latest post has information on how you can get a free Kindle download of a short comic book story I wrote. But you have to act before Monday, March 1st, to get it for free!

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  5. Oh no! Don't turn sepia! I remember my father, who was a photographer, doing some sepia photography and the awful smell filled the house. I think the Tolpudlians should learn to make toffee. Tolpuddle Toffee sounds so much better than Tolpuddle Martyrs.

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  6. I suppose "Let's MARCH" sounds more dignified than "Oh goody let's have a parade."

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  7. I don't like looking in the mirror as I have sepia sapped my face by aging. Being in the cold for so long takes away all of the color and flattens what hair that I have left. Sunshine would bring me back a little but it probably is too late for any improvement. Great job following the theme.

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  8. Perhaps you are the new Dorian Grey - your pictures are showing signs of age instead of you ! Tolpuddle is a familiar word to Australian family historians. I'm glad it is still celebrated.

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  9. In light of what happened today in Russia, we should count ourselves lucky that we can march....

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  10. Time marches every onward, waiting for no one and never looking back. Hence the need for photographers like you, Alan to record those moments, whether in black and white, color, or sepia tone.

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  11. There's something to be said for calm but determined protests - especially if you live in a town called Tolpuddle. :)

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  12. So appropriate to have this weeks theme a political march in Russia. You have gone from being a blogger to a soothsayer.

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