TRADE unionists from across the country are set to descend on the annual Chainmakers’ Festival in Cradley Heath next month.

The festival is being held in Bearmore Park, Bearmore Road, on Saturday, June 8 and is expected to attract thousands of people.

Mary Macarthur’s struggle to gain equal pay rights for female chainmakers over 100 years ago will be celebrated through speeches, songs, arts and crafts and dramatic reinactments.

The festivities will begin with a banner procession from Mary Macarthur’s statue in Cradley Heath to the park and the festival is being officially opened by chair of the TUC Lesley Mercer.

Andrew Lloyd, vice chair of the Midlands Regional TUC, said: “The Chainmakers’ Festival is the only festival in Europe that marks women’s struggle for equality, and although it is over 100 years since, women still have yet to achieve equal pay.

“The chainmakers’ won their strike by the communities and workers coming together to support each other, their example is perhaps one that we could all learn very valuable lessons from today.”

He added: “The festival is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate achievements of local community groups and the talents of local craftmakers, artisans, and artists who, like the chainmakers, earn their living from their homes. “ This will be the third festival held in Bearmore Park after a spat with previous home The Black Country Musuem over the “political nature” of the festival forced organisers to decamp to Cradley Heath.

Mr Lloyd said:”Following its success last year, as well as new displays including archery and motor bike displays, there will be a community and craft marquee to celebrate the work of community and, in the spirit of the chainmakers’, showcase the work of local craft makers.”

Other attractions include circus skills, face painting and badge making, trade union exhibitions, adult learning stalls and a speedway exhibition from the Cradley Heathens.

For more information about exhibiting craft and art at the festival phone Jean Cooper, the community tent co-ordinator on 0121 643 4342 or email