Tuesday, 21 February 2012

21st February 1812: 5 frames broken in Nottingham - anatomy of an attack

At 5.00 a.m. on Friday 21st February, several men broke into the house of a Mr Harvey of West Street, Broad Lane Paddock in Nottingham. Using a ladder to gain entry to the second storey, some of the party stood guard over Harvey and his family, whilst the others set about breaking the stocking frames, in this case warp lace frames, apparently very valuable items.

Five out of seven frames were broken, with two escaping destruction as a woman from a neighbouring house called out 'murder' during the raid. Although a pistol was fired at the woman to make her stop, the Luddites decided they needed to make their escape. Climbing out of the upstairs window, they took 2 pistols belonging to Mr Harvey, and in the meantime, 25 other Luddites came down the street to meet them. It was reported by witnesses that some of the new group of Luddites wore military greatcoats, and one of the party carried a large staff. In their haste, the Luddites left behind the ladder, and one of the party had lost his hat.

It was another audacious attack, since Harvey's house was located close to the Regimental Hospital of the Buckinghamshire Militia stationed in Nottingham. Harvey had apparently recently moved from New Radford to Nottingham to try to lessen his chances of his frames being destroyed.

As reported in the Leeds Mercury of 29th February 1812 and the Derby Mercury of the 27th February 1812.

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