20th May, 2019

Centenary tribute paid to working class hero and founder of union

Laura Kearns 18th Feb, 2019 Updated: 26th Feb, 2019

TRIBUTE has been paid to a working class hero on the centenary of his death.

Joseph Arch from Barford was the founder of the Warwickshire Agricultural Union in the late 1800s and helped create agricultural unions across the country.

He was also the first agricultural worker to become a member of parliament.

He died in the village in 1919, where his cottage on Bridge Street still stands today.

The work he did for local farmers was remembered at an event by Wellesbourne Allotment Association and Barford Heritage Group which saw a wreath laid after a five mile walk to Joseph Arch cottage – where 2,000 local agricultural workers once gathered to hear him speak for the first union meeting.

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western said: “Joseph Arch was an agricultural worker who led the formation of the first national agricultural union in the 1870s and improved working conditions and pay for workers across the country.

“We should celebrate such a significant local figure much more than we do currently and so I welcome initiatives like this that seek to do so.”

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