January 11 1812: Luddites

1812 is also the bicentennial of the Luddites.
Luddite disturbances did begin in Nottinghamshire, England in November 1811 but increased in scope as they spread to the  West Riding of Yorkshire in early 1812. Many of the disturbances took the form of machine-breaking in the wool and cotton industries.  The  Luddites were named after the mythical leader of the movement, a certain ‘General Ned Ludd’ or ‘King Ludd’, who lived in Sherwood Forest. 

There were a number of grievances that gave rise to the Luddites. Many wanted to get rid of the new machinery that supposedly was the cause unemployment. Artisan hand weavers did not want power looms or weaving frames introduced.  There were also protests against wage reductions. In general, artisans and workers were experiencing changing economic conditions that we broadly call the industrial revolution.  In addition, there were various economic difficulties caused by the disruption in economic activity as a result of the Napoleonic wars.

The tweets for January 12, 2012 come from a letter  sent on January 11, 1811 from the Magistrates of the Nottingham County.  The letter can be found here in the very interesting website, Luddite Bicentenary 1811-1813.
The Magistrates are writing to the Home Office seeking protection for John Braithwaite and Elizabeth Braithwaite. The Braithwaites were going to give evidence at trial against Wm. Carnell and Joseph Maples. The latter having been charged with having broken into the Braithwaite's home and  breaking "several Frames therein and ...[taking] away certain parts of these Frames." The Braithwaits had received various threats after the arrests were made. The Magistrates sensibly thought the Braithwaites might be safer in London.

To celebrate, the 200 years the Luddites have a website,The Luddite Link.

The above post is also based, in part, on information found in the UK national Archives website found here
The tweets for January 13, 2012 again come from the website Luddite Bicentenary 1811-1813 based on the following post

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