With just 6 months to go till the 200th anniversary of the battle of Cinderloo the group set up to commemorate the events in 1821 have been reflecting on how to mark the events in 2021.
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on all aspects of community life and plans that Cinderloo 1821 had have been no different. Social distancing prevents some of the group activities that we had planned, school closures have stopped the history and art work organised and grants being bid for to Heritage Lottery Fund & The Arts Council will need to be resubmitted.
However the pandemic period has thrown up new issues that are worthy of investigation and comparison.
The Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the brutal murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer has become a symbol of black people fighting back against police oppression and wider on going discrimination in society.
The comparison with the hanging of Tom Palin and shooting by the local yeomanry of William Bird and Thomas Gittins are from a different time but fundamentally about keeping people in their place. Seeing young people, black and white protesting in Telford Town Park is something Cinderloo 1821 sees as part of the same struggle 200 years on.
The role played by some care homes in the pandemic, many financed through off shore hedge funds, providing poor personal protective equipment and paying staff meagre wages are the equivalent of the mine owners back in the day. No health and safety, 2 shillings a week, appreciated by their families and communities but at the end of the day numbers and statistics not mentioned in the history books by name.
Once the media had moved on to another topic the colliers like the carers are left with the same conditions and a patronising pat on the head for their troubles
The Forge Retail Park, the location of the Botfields iron foundry and the site of the Cinderloo riot, has been up for sale as part of a property deal worth £400m. It fell through as the future for retail looked threatened before the pandemic. Now with Frankie and Bennys, TUI , Curries , DW Sports all closing stores the site is once again a barometer of the state of the local economy and a recession will see the workers once again paying the price as land owners and investors cashing in with no thought to the impact on the local community.
These are issues that Cinderloo 1821 will want to explore during 2021 and will wish to partner with other groups locally to draw out the lessons from 1821 and how they apply to Telford today.
Our plan is to:-
• schedule events during 2021 that we have planned and rehearsed previously such as walks, talks, and events to connect with the communities and localities that set the back drop for Cinderloo marchers
• work with a number of schools that have started using art, poetry and out door activities to learn about the events 200 years ago
• research the family connections of the main characters involved and who died or were arrested to publish materials that people interested in their own families involvement in cinderloo might use
• run creative writing workshops with Shropshire Archives and including a visit to Shrewsbury’s Dana Prison
• gather work together into a public exhibition at the gallery at Jackfield Tile Museum
As in 1821 the future now is uncertain, second spikes in COVID-19, concern about social distancing and impact on families and communities all make planning difficult. However Cinderloo 1821 are keen to use all the creativity and knowledge of our growing group of members to ensure that the 200th anniversary of the battle of Cinderloo has an impact on Telford.
It will be remembered by future generations as a time when people learned about their history and were proud of the struggles their anecestors had to create a society that sought social justice and celebrated those that fought for it then and and even more so now.
If you would like more information look at our website http://www.cinderloo.com and if you have an idea or would like to be involved in 2021 please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be holding our next meeting at the Virtual Elephant & Castle on 9th September at 7pm. Watch out for details for how to join