Peak District villages mark strike centenary

Women on the march to mark the centenary of the Eyam and Stoney Middleton boot and shoe-makers' strike
Women on the march to mark the centenary of the Eyam and Stoney Middleton boot and shoe-makers' strike
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Peak District villages Eyam and Stoney Middleton were alive with the sounds of a silver band, singing, and dramatic voices as people commemorated the 100th anniversary of the boot and shoemakers strike of 1918.

A lively re-enactment captured the passion of the bitter dispute, which lasted for more than two years. Children from Eyam School had made banners, using the soles of their feet to create a pattern.

Modern union banners join the re-enactors marking the centenary of as boot and shoe-makers' strike in Eyam and Stoney Middleton

Modern union banners join the re-enactors marking the centenary of as boot and shoe-makers' strike in Eyam and Stoney Middleton

A procession from Eyam joined marchers in Stoney Middleton. The Castleton Silver Band led the parade to St Martin’s Church, with GMB and Chesterfield TUC banners representing the unions involved 100 years ago, and people wearing period clothes.

The event marked the exact date, April 14, 1918, when the Reverend John Riddlesden held a service at St Martin’s to support the strikers.

Local shoemaker Philip Taylor introduced the service, which featured descendants of families on both sides of the dispute reading extracts from letters and descriptions of work and village life 100 years ago.

Children put on a poetry performance and local vicar Rev James Croft reflected on the meaning of the original sermon based on a question from Genesis, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper’? Hymns were chosen to reflect the non-conformist tradition in the villages, as well as the spirit of the 1918 service.

An exhibition in a marquee told the story of the strike and will be available for use by local schools and community groups.

Contact stoneymiddletonheritagecentre@gmail.com for details. Eyam Museum will also have an exhibition.

The event was made possible by the hard work of many volunteers and groups, including Bowring Productions, who streamed the proceedings, SMILE and the Stoney Middleton Well Dressers who loaned and erected marquees, and residents who helped with planning, took part in the re-enactment, made cakes and served refreshments and acted as stewards.