Rural Luddism and the makeshift economy of the Nottinghamshire Framework Knitters

ROBERTS, Matthew (2017). Rural Luddism and the makeshift economy of the Nottinghamshire Framework Knitters. Social History, 42 (3), 365-398.

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This article explores the geography and culture of machine breaking in Nottinghamshire, home to the Luddite framework knitters. Earlier accounts have shed some light on why Luddism broke out in 1811-12; but they have had much less to say about why it assumed the form and the geography that it did. By situating Luddism in a longer chronological and broader historiographical context, the article suggests that it makes more sense when viewed as one of the last episodes in an older style of traditional and largely rural popular protest. Luddism in the region was a lot less moderate than previous accounts have argued, a reflection of the ‘rough’ culture of the knitters that thrived in the villages, a culture that has remained largely unexplored by historians. By utilising a range of sources that have been neglected in previous studies, notably parish and court records, and through a careful re-combing of the Home Office and Treasury Solicitors’ files, this article recreates aspects of the day-to-day lives of the knitters, paying attention to poverty, life-cycle and crime. Luddism was about more than wages and working conditions; it was also a response to contractions in the ‘makeshift economy’.

Item Type: Article
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Department of Humanities
Identification Number:
Page Range: 365-398
Depositing User: Matthew Roberts
Date Deposited: 08 May 2017 10:21
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 00:46

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