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The Luddite Link: Exploring the history of Luddism

The launch of a new online resource marks the bicentenary of the Luddite movement.

'Rage Against the Machine': The Leader of the Luddites, engraving of 1812The Luddite Link is a new website launched to celebrate the bicentenary, in 2012, of the Luddite uprising, in which militant workers destroyed machinery (typically stocking frames and shearing frames) in the English textile areas. It is the result of a joint project between the University of Huddersfield, based in the area that was the epicentre of Luddism, and several other partners.

The website provides a wealth of useful information and resources about the Luddites in West Yorkshire. It will be expanded over the coming year and regularly updated with details of forthcoming events organised to mark the 200th anniversary of the movement.

Nevertheless, The Luddite Link already includes a comprehensive page about the history of the movement, in-depth articles and links to further reading, as well as information about each of the partner organisations. Another section features photographs and audio and visual material with recordings and transcripts of the lyrics of ‘The Cropper Lads’ and ‘Foster’s Mill’, two popular folk songs about the Luddite movement in Yorkshire in 1812.

Videos include an introduction to the history and background of the Luddites, an interview with John Holmes who tells the story of Nottinghamshire Luddism and a link to BBC Radio 3’s programme entitled ‘The Original Luddites’ in which Jeremy Black and Katrina Navickas discuss the context, impact and historical significance of the movement.

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The website is worth visiting now and throughout the year for further information on the movement and updates on forthcoming commemorative events.   

From the History Today archive:

In Television's Luddites Taylor Downing provides a background to the 1812 Luddite uprising and talks about the making of his dramatised documentary The Luddites.

The Pentrich Rebellion in 1817 is remembered as England's last attempted revolution. It was swiftly and brutally suppressed.  

- Explore the archive