Thursday, 10 January 2013

10th January 1813: Wide cotton frame destroyed by Luddites in Nottingham

At 10.15 p.m. on the evening of Sunday 10th January 1813, William Bywater, a framework-knitter who lived at Gibraltar Straits in Nottingham, was enjoying smoking his pipe when he heard a knock at his door. A voice said "does William Bywater live there?" When he answered 'yes', the door flew open and five men came in. Four of them had black handkerchiefs covering their faces, whilst the fifth had blackened his face. Some of them had guns, and Bywater now found one levelled at his head - the man confronting him demanded he show them where he kept his frame. Bywater refused, and the Luddite pulled the trigger, but the weapon mis-fired.

Another Luddite presented another gun at him and repeated the demand. Bywater still refused. The Luddites then told Bywater that if he sat down, he would not be harmed, and he complied. Three of the Luddites then kept guard over him, whilst the other two - one who carried a hatchet, and was called 'Ned' by the others - went into his workshop. They hastily destroyed his frame (in this instance, a 32 gauge 30 inches wide cotton glove frame belonging to a Mr Taylor of Low Pavement in the town) before fleeing into the night.

This has been compiled from an account in the Nottingham Review of 16th January 1813.

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