Dorset Council Chairman visit to Tolpuddle Old Chapel

On Wednesday 24 August Cllr Val Pothecary, Chairman, Dorset Council made a visit to the site of Tolpuddle Old Chapel to view the progress of the renovation works on this historic listed building.

For the past eight months detailed renovation work has been carried out by Sally Strachey Historic Conservation. (SSHC) & Greendale Construction.

Cllr Pothecary was accompanied by Graham Iszatt and Cllr Pauline Batstone, Immediate Past Chairman Dorset Council.

The Party was shown around the site by Andrew McCarthy, Chair TOCT & TOCT Trustee, Professor Philip Martin.

The group viewed the detailed repair work carried out on the unique two hundred year old cob walls of the Old Chapel which was built by the Tolpuddle Labourers (Dorchester Labourers/Tolpuddle Martyrs) in 1818.

Picture of Andrew McCarthy, Cllr Val Pothecary and Professor Philip Martin at the renovated cob walls
Andrew McCarthy shows Cllr Val Pothecary and Philip Martin the renovated cob walls.

They also viewed the huge newly renovated roof trusses and the walls of the small extension to the building.

Councillor Pothecary commented:

“Today has been a wonderful opportunity to view the renovation work at Tolpuddle Old Chapel. It was fascinating to see skilled stone masons carrying out such intricate work on restoring the 200-year-old cob structure back to its original condition.

It is hard to overstate the importance of this unique listed building and I was really interested to see it first hand and to understand the part that the Tolpuddle Labourers played in building and worshipping within its cob walls.

Dorset Council is pleased to support this project with a grant which will remove the building from Historic England’s At Risk Register”.

Andrew McCarthy said:

“It is good to welcome the Chairman of Dorset Council to our construction site.

TOCT trustees are grateful for the support Dorset Council has shown to the project by their grant of £30,000 and their loan of £50,000 to aid the project cash flow over the construction period”.

The Future:

  • The full restoration of the Old Chapel
  • A new extension to support events and activities situated adjacent to the east wall of the chapel.
  • A year-round programme of activities and interpretation.
  • A pilot schools programme, engaging students with the history of Tolpuddle and the Tolpuddle Labourers. (Dorchester Labourers/Tolpuddle Martyrs)
  • Various volunteering opportunities.

A secure future for the Old Chapel and the stories it tells.

Picture of the Chgapel before work started in 2014
Tolpuddle Chapel in 2014 before renovation work started.
Architect’s design for renovated Tolpuddle Old Chapel
Architect’s design for renovated Tolpuddle Old Chapel.

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