This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Luddites, a social movement of textile artisans from around Northern England and the Midlands. Here is just a bit of information about the Luddites and some of the events that have been happening and ones planned for the future, commemorating them.
The main areas of activity of the Luddites were in Nottinghamshire, the West Riding of Yorkshire and Lancashire between 1811-1816. Their protests resulted from their trade and communities being threatened by a combination of machines and other practices that had been unilaterally imposed by the aggressive new class of manufacturers that drove the Industrial Revolution.
My personal interest in this comes from one of the most famous Luddite battles, which was near Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire; the part of the world I grew up in. This was where the Luddites attacked Rawfolds Mill in Liversedge and two Luddites were killed, in an attempt to murder the mill’s owner William Cartwright. To commemorate this, there was an unveiling of a memorial across the road from the pub where this attack was planned, The Shears Inn. There were even a few anarchists who ventured across from Huddersfield to attend the event.
Those pesky anarchists who made the long journey to Liversedge are also a part of the the Hudds Ludds group, who are organising the Huddersfield Luddites 200 Festival (see poster below for details and check this draft programme). This is going to be big event brought to you by loads of locals from Huddersfield and some from further afield. Anyone who can get there, even for a day, should and get yourself very drunk with the Huddersfield Anarchist League in the pub afterwords.
For more info on other Luddite events coming up around the country as well as some historical knowledge and commentary on what the Luddites were about, visit these valuable web based resources, Luddite Bicentenary, Luddite Link and Luddites at 200