Cropper in West Yorkshire

News Archive

Celebrate the Luddites 200th anniversary

2012 is the 200th anniversary of the Luddites’ uprisings against machinery that was destroying weavers’ livelihoods.  Were the Luddites mindless hooligans opposed to progress, or, as EP Thompson suggests, trades unionists fighting for their jobs in desperate conditions?  
Time 13:00 - 17:00

The People's History Museum
18 November 2012

17 November 2012

Luddite Podcast

Listen to Dr Matt Roberts (University of Sheffield Hallam) speaking on the Luddite uprisings. BBC History Magazine site - 26 July 2012.

17 August 2012

West Yorkshire Archive Service display

2012 Tour so far:

Halifax Central Library - current display now extended until 10 May.
All of May - display at WYAS, Registry of Deeds, Wakefield. 
12th May - display at University of Huddersfield Day School.
14th May - 11th June - at Armley Library.
All of June - at King Cross Library, Halifax.
25th June-28th July - at Lawrence Batley Theatre.
28th Jul - Tolson Museum for Yorkshire Day.
1st Aug-1st Sep - Todmorden Library.
All of Sep - Marsden Mechanics' Institute.
8th-22nd Sep - Shibden Hall, Halifax.

To accompany the 2012 travelling exhibition, a booklet is now available for £2 (£3.10 including p&p) obtainable from all district offices and from the WYAS eshop (Search for 'luddite'). The 25 page booklet aims to give an insight into life in 1812, the major events of riots and murder, as well as the individual stories of some of the Luddites and the personal suffering undergone by their widows and children, who were visited by the Quaker, Thomas Shillitoe.

Halifax Courier - In defence of the Luddites.

Halifax Courier - 200 years on: remembering the Luddite rebellion.

05 July 2012

Among Those Dark Satanic Mills

Hammer and Shears Cast.

The next performance of Among Those Dark Satanic Mills is during Cleckheaton Folk Festival on Saturday 7th July, 1:30pm, in the Mead Hall at The George, Cleckheaton.

28 June 2012

Reflection on Enoch's Hammer Conference

The University of Huddersfield hosted the all-day event which was attended by 62 delegates, many from universities around the UK and overseas.

See the conference report on the University's website.

15 May 2012

Re-publication of Liberty or Death

To commemorate the bi-centenary of the Yorkshire Luddites in 2012, the Huddersfield Local History Society has published a revised and enlarged edition of Liberty or Death: Radicals, Republicans and Luddites 1793 to 1823 by distinguished local historians Alan Brooke & Lesley Kipling.

You can download a PDF with order form, or pay with paypal:

See also: William Horsfall's Last Journey Leaflet.

05 May 2012

Trouble at t' Mill, the Luddites & Honley

Honley Civic Society is commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the Luddite uprising with a new publication revealing the village's connections with those turbulent times.
The story of the assassins and their leader George Mellor is retold with a local perspective, including the flight of two of the attackers of Marsden mill-owner, William Horsfall, to the Coach and Horses Inn at Honley.
The booklet is uniquely illustrated with seven colour sketches by Honley artist Andrew Jenkin, Which powerfully evoke the events of 28th April, 1812, when four croppers took Horsfall’s life.
Further Luddite activities in and around the Honley district during the early 19th century are related in the twenty page booklet and quotes from contemporary newspapers are also included.
Price: £3.50.
Available from: Holme Valley News and Taylor’s in Honley, Holmfirth Tourist Information Office, Huddersfield Station bookstall and other outlets.

22 April 2012

Holmfirth Arts Festival 2012

The popular festival, this year from June 14-24, takes on a Luddite theme to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Luddite uprising in West Yorkshire.

Curators of the festival seek film makers, musicians, artists and designers to take part in a variety of ways.

For submissions and more information email: 
or visit:
Deadline for submissions: April 30.

21 April 2012

Cath Everett - Luddite Canvas

Local artist, Cath Everett, involved in the show 'Among Those Dark Satanic Mills' has created two special 6ft x 4ft canvases depicting scenes from the times of the Luddite uprising in the West Riding. See more details link for website.

20 April 2012

BBC News

BBC News articles on the Luddites.

Are you a Luddite?

Tribute park to Spen Valley Luddite workers.

19 April 2012

West Yorkshire Archive Service Display

WYAS is producing a major display to mark the bicentenary.
It will focus on various themes including; the response of the local figures in authority, such as Sir Joseph Radcliffe and the Reverend Hammond Roberson; key Luddite figures such as the informant, Benjamin Walker; and the personal suffering undergone by the widows and children of Luddites - recorded by Quaker, Thomas Shillitoe, in the accounts of his visits.
The display will be at various venues throughout the year, beginning at Huddersfield Library, Halifax Central Library, and the Red House Museum in Gomersal, from 2nd - 30th April.  
If you would like to borrow the full display or a smaller version from May onwards please contact Pat Sewell via:

24 March 2012

Yorkshire Post Article

Article discussing the history and legend of the Luddites, focusing on the West Riding.

See also: 
Huddersfield Examiner.
Spenborough Guardian.
Mirfield Reporter.

19 March 2012

Commemorative Sculpture

Sited at the heart of local Luddite activity, a Spen Valley Civic Society commissioned sculpture will commemorate the Kirklees Croppers who formed the backbone of the Luddite uprising of 1812.

Along with a freshly cast set of replica cropping shears inscribed with the unknown history of the croppers, the sculpture will be unveiled in April at Liversedge Sparrow Park.

BBC News article.

20 February 2012

The LBT - Uprising Events

The Lawrence Batley Theatre's new page on the Luddites, showcasing in-house and related events celebrating the bicentenary. As well as viewing events and information, users can sign up to add content, contribute to the blog, and subscribe to the mailing list.

17 February 2012

Huddersfield University online projects go live!

Four projects on different aspects of the Luddite uprising have now gone live on our website!
The projects have been researched and created by students at Huddersfield University for their Hands on History module. Each one approaches Luddism from a particular theme, includes a podcast/vodcast, and is grounded in historical research from primary and secondary sources.
They are located in Hands on History under 'The Luddite Story' tab above - or click the link below.


06 February 2012

Hammer and Shears Company Update

Tickets are now on sale for performances of 'Among Those Dark Satanic Mills' at:

Aldersgate Methodist Church, Low Moor, Bradford 7:00 pm Sat 28th April. 
Roberttown Community Hall, Roberttown 2:15pm Sunday 13th May.
It is advisable to book in advance for these two shows, or check if there are still tickets for sale on the door before traveling to the venue.

See the website for more information and contact details:

25 January 2012

Public walk - 'Luddite Locations two centuries on'

Kirklees Countryside Volunteers are offering a public walk in the Spen Valley named, 'Luddite locations two centuries on', on Thursday 12 April at 1:00 pm. The 5-mile walk will visit locations involved in the planning and execution of the attack on Cartwright's Mill, on its bi-centenary, and subsequent retribution.
Meet Nigel at the junction of Bradford Rd (A638) and Primrose Lane (near Princess Mary Stadium), Rawfolds, Cleckheaton, WF15 6LW (GR SE 198 246) - park on the roadside.

Details will follow of the walks also being planned by Huddersfield Local History Society and Marsden History Group.

12 January 2012

Luddite Genes

The Huddersfield Local Studies Library has recently launched a new project with a working title ‘Luddite Genes’. It will look at genealogical information related to the people mentioned in connection with the Luddite uprising in the Huddersfield area.
The aim is to find out, if possible, what happened to families of the ‘rebels’ and trace some of their descendants up to date. This will be contrasted with the fate of the mill owners and their families who stood on the opposite side of the ‘fighting camp’. Any members of the public wishing to get involved in the project will be very welcome.

22 November 2011

Radio 3 asks: were the Luddites right?

The Luddites are often portrayed as a force who opposed technology and stood in the way of industrial progress. BBC Radio 3 will be examining the rights and wrongs of this approach, as well as what Luddism means in today's digital world.

Historians Kathryn Hughes and Katrina Navickas, technology analyst Bill Thompson and writer Andrew Simms join together to discuss the issues on Tuesday 22nd November 2011 on Radio 3 at 10pm.

21 November 2011

Grants awarded by Lipman-Miliband Trust

The Lipman-Miliband Trust has awarded two grants to support the study and commemoration of the Luddite movements.
The first will go to the University of Huddersfield to pay for a public lecture on Yorkshire Luddism by Dr Katrina Navickas; this will take place on 11 May 2012 at Huddersfield Town Hall.
The second grant is for the Huddersfield Local History Society to support the publication of a revised edition of Liberty or Death: Radicals, Republicans and Luddites, 1793-1823, by Alan Brooke and Lesley Kipling. It will also partially fund some printed Luddite walking trails being developed by the HLHS in conjunction with third year History in the Community students.

15 November 2011

Enoch's Hammer Recreated

As part of Bicentenary celebrations, the Luddites200 group have recreated an 'Enoch hammer’, used by the Luddites to smash cast iron shearing frames and ‘gig mills’. These hammers were made by Enoch Taylor of Marsden in West Yorkshire, who also made the machines themselves, hence the Luddites’ cry when they were about to break the machines was: ‘Enoch hath made them, Enoch shall break them!!’  For pictures, see the link below.

11 November 2011

Among Those Dark Satanic Mills

To mark the 200th Anniversary of the Luddite uprising a group called the Hammer and Shears Company have written a show called 'Among Those Dark Satanic Mills.' It tells the story of the skilled Croppers and Weavers whose way of life was imperilled by the new machines being introduced in many Mills. The story is told in the form of words, music, pictures and song.

31 October 2011

Were the Luddites Right?

BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival 2011: Were the Luddites Right?
Sunday 6 November 1:00 pm.
Venue: Northern Rock Foundation Hall.
Tickets: Free but ticketed.

Historians Kathryn Hughes and Katrina Navickas, technology analyst Bill Thompson and writer Andrew Simms debate the rights and wrongs of Luddism.

17 October 2011

Can You Keep A Secret?

Mikron Theatre Company Launch their brand new Luddite show.

Riots in our city streets, the worst economic crisis for decades, a long war fought abroad with no sign of progress.

Sound familiar?

Can You Keep A Secret explores the story of the Yorkshire Luddites in true Mikron style with live original music and a great yarn. 

Find out more at the dedicated Mikron Luddite page.

20 September 2011

Luddite Link in the News

The Luddite Link website has featured in the History Today blog and the Huddersfield Examiner.

If you have any Luddite news, events or stories do get in touch.

19 September 2011

The Noisy Frame

"The Noisy Frame: Cloth Making in Song and Testimony, c.1780-1840."
 The Noisy Frame illuminates experiences of cloth workers in northern England during the earlier stages of the Industrial Revolution through the performance of historical song and documentary and pictorial evidence. The Noisy Frame marks the 200th anniversary of the Luddite ‘outrages’ in West Yorkshire.

For further details contact Steve Harrison at

30 August 2011

University of Huddersfield Students learn about Ned Ludd

This year 2nd year history students on the 'Hands on History' module will investigate Yorkshire Luddism using a mixture of text, audio and images. This research will be added to the Luddite link website - watch this space!

Students on the 3rd year ‘History in the Community’ module will also work with Kirklees Museums Education team to help create a travelling exhibition on Luddism. 

17 August 2011

WEA Luddite history courses

THE YORKSHIRE LUDDITES AND THEIR LEGACY: a new WEA course taught by local historian Dr John Hargreaves at the Tolson Museum, Ravensknowle Park, Huddersfield commencing Wednesday 28 September 2011 (2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.) for 10 weeks with Half Term break on 26 October and concluding on 7 December.

The Yorkshire Luddites and their Legacy. 

THE LUDDITES IN THE LOCAL LANDSCAPE, LITERATURE AND HISTORY: A second WEA course, also tutored by Dr John Hargreaves, will run for ten weeks from 11 January 2011 at the Red House Museum, 281 Oxford Road, Gomersal, Cleckheaton, BD19 4JP.

The Luddites in the Local Landscape, Literature and History.


10 August 2011

Original document held by Sheffield Archives - Luddite Link