London Art Honours Trade Union Pioneers

September 21, 2011, 11:20 AM EST

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A new installation of public art in London, Ontario's Peace Gardens honours a group of trade union pioneers who settled in the region more than a century ago.

The new public art depicts two hands - an older and a younger hand - and commemorates the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who are considered early pioneers of the trade union movement who settled in the London area after being persecuted for their beliefs in England.

The public art work is in remembrance of the Tolpuddle Martyrs who fought to enhance the lives of the working class more than 150 years ago, said CAW retiree and activist Hector McLellan.

"This sculpture symbolizes, through the image of 'Good Hands,' the good works, the struggles, the compassion and the tireless commitment of the Tolpuddle Martyrs in bringing about their vision of eliminating poverty and starvation for the working class," said McLellan.

Together with two local artists - David Bobier and Leslie Putnam - who created the art, McLellan helped organize the project along with the London and District Labour Council, the city, the London Arts Council, and local labour unions. A ceremony was held September 15.

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