The Thomas Helliker lecture.
Organised by the White Horse Trades Union Council.
In the memory of Thomas Helliker, the Trowbridge Martyr 1784 – 1803
22 October 2016
10.00 – 3.30pm.
Free entry – The Cause, 42 The Causeway, Chippenham, Wilts. SN15 3DD
A day of discussion about Civil Liberties
Speakers include leading authors, journalists, campaigners, union activists
Phil Chamberlain – Blacklisted – The full story
W Stephen Gilbert – Jeremy Corbyn: Accidental Hero
Ray Packham – Working in and for Palestine
Paul Dobson – Venezuela: the truth behind the headlines
Phil Chamberlain – blacklisting
We are in particular delighted to be joined by Phil Chamberlain, co-author of the explosive book “Blacklisted” which reveals the full story of how major corporations maintained an unlawful blacklist which prevented a number of people, entirely innocent of any wrongdoing, from gaining employment, often for years.
Read the original review in the Guardian of the first edition: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/undercover-with-paul-lewis-and-rob-evans/2015/jul/09/blacklisted-the-secret-war-between-big-business-and-union-activists-a-book-review
The anniversary of Helliker’s death, March 22nd, is celebrated each year by a wreath laying at St James Church in Trowbridge. White Horse ( Wilts) trades council is now also reviving the practice of holding a memorial lecture each year.
Thomas Helliker is an important figure in Wiltshire and working class history. In the early nineteenth century the introduction of machinery into the woollen trade impoverished thousands of workers; the best organized of the dispossessed workers, and the most opposed to mechanization were the shearmen. Littleton Mill near Semington was allegedly burnt down by a shearman in 1803. For his supposed part in this, a young Trowbridge apprentice, Thomas Helliker was hanged in 1803. Despite Helliker having an alibi from his friend Joseph Warren he was charged and lodged in Salisbury gaol. He refused to give evidence that would clear his name because it would have incriminated the real culprits.