200th anniversary of Luddism

Although machine breaking was not a new strategy, in March 1811 began what became known as Luddism.

The Nottingham Date Book (Vo. II p. 273) describes events on March 11th as follows:

‘This day is memorable as the commencement of the protracted and most alarming series of outrages, known as “the Luddite disturbances.” A great amount of dissatisfaction had been smouldering in the breasts of the framework-knitters generally, for a long period, occasioned by reductions in wages, &c., and at length broke out in an open flame. Some hundreds of country hands assembled in the Market-place, and in short speeches amongst themselves complained in unmeasured terms of the treatment to which they were subject. The constables were ordered out to preserve the peace, and a troop of Dragoons paraded the Market-place from three to nine p.m. for the like purpose, When the night fairly set in, the men marched to Arnold, and broke sixty-three frames, chiefly belonging to a person named Bolton. The next morning, a troop of Dragoons were sent to the village, but the rioters had dispersed, and none of them were then apprehended.

The pernicious example thus set became at once highly popular, and was speedily and extensively imitated. In the following week, many of the villages in the north-western part of the county were visited, and nearly a hundred frames belonging to obnoxious parties were demolished.’

Local authorities tried to round up frame breakers by promising rewards:

Found in the database Picture the Past

Watch this spot, we will add more material over the next months. And sorry for the delay in publishing this first Luddite post, we have been terrible busy lately.

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