Luddites Turn 200
New research marking the bicentenary of Luddism – a workers’ uprising which swept through parts of England in 1812 – has thrown into question whether it really was the moment at which working class Britain found its political voice.
April 11 will mark the 200th anniversary of what was arguably the high-point of the Luddite rebellion; an assault by some 150 armed labourers on a Huddersfield mill, in which soldiers opened fire on the mob to stop them breaking into the premises, fatally wounding two attackers.
It was, perhaps, the most dramatic in a series of protests which had begun the year before in Nottinghamshire, then spread to Yorkshire, Lancashire and other regions. The Luddites were angered by new technologies, like automated looms, which were being used in the textile industry in place of the skilled work of artisans, threatening their livelihoods as a result....
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