Former miners' leader Arthur Scargill among the speakers scheduled at Jarrow's Rebel Town Festival
Former miners’ leader Arthur Scargill and Jarrow MP Kate Osborne will be among the speakers at the Rebel Town Festival on Saturday, July 3.
Scargill is best known for his 20-year stint as president of the National Union of Mineworkers, most famously leading the ill-fated and highly divisive 1984-85 strike against the proposed pit closures by the government of Margaret Thatcher. Now 83, Scargill remains a controversial figure.
The event has been organised by Follonsby Wardley Miners Lodge Banner Community Heritage Association, with the Durham Miners Association, the National Education Union and “with thanks to South Tyneside County Council Community Fund”.
The event is to mark the significant role Jarrow has played in the history of Britain’s industrial relations since the 1830s. The festival commemorates the story of the 1832 Seven Men of Jarrow, who were deported to an Australian penal colony for a crime they almost certainly didn’t commit.
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The suspicion has remained ever since that they were really punished for being prominent members of the first official miners’ union.
It will be the fifth time the events of the 1830s have been marked, although 2020’s event was cancelled due to Covid.
The Rebel Town Festival also commemorates other significant events in the labour movement, including the 1936 Jarrow March.
The festival will begin near the Jarrow end of the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel. Wreaths will be laid at the nearby memorial to William Jobling, another member of the union who was infamously hanged in 1832.
There will also be a parade through the centre of Jarrow, stalls, musical entertainment and attendees can also enjoy a drink. Speeches of welcome will be made by the Mayor and Deputy Mayoress of South Tyneside.
Kate Osborne said: “I am looking forward to attending and speaking at the event in July for the first time as the MP for the Jarrow constituency.
“The event will provide an opportunity to celebrate the great cultural history of Jarrow.
“The event itself is an amazing representation of the people of Jarrow and will be a great chance to reconnect as a community after over a year of lockdown.”