Saturday, 16 November 2013

16th November 1813: The Nottingham Solicitor, William Woodcock, writes to the Home Office about Nottingham Framework-knitters organisations

Mansfield November 16th 1813


I assure you it has not being through Inattention on my part that your Letter of the 28th of may was not sooner answered. The person from whom I received my Information has been obliged to be absent being suspected to be an accomplice with Joseph Falconbridge and others in a Robbery which Falconbridge (who was tried for and acquitted of frame breaking) has been transported, The Police of Nottingham have on this account being in Search of my Informant and I could not without suspicion ensure his Safety at Nottingham ‘till of late—

There are at Nottingham about Twenty Societies of more than one hundred numbers each some of a smaller number. The Business transacted before the Several members professes to have for its object the ensuring to them Employment at what they call fair Prices, The Societies have all the unemployed frames and Engage all the work they can which they let out to their members but to no other person, if the member has Employment elsewhere with which he is dissatisfied the Society make him a weekly allowance until he finds better Employment either from the Society or other persons. When the funds of the Society exceed a certain Sum the Surplus is sent to what my Informant calls the Head Committee which he believes to be in London. The Officers of the Society sometimes retire into a Room apart from the general meeting Room to transact Business. My Informant Society have paid out of their Funds the Expences of defending criminal prosecutions against its members but he understands this has been objected to by other of the Societies. New Tickets have been issued to the members in the stead of those of which I gave you one in the new ones – the material alteration is the omission of the arms which it was understood had caused some Suspicion. These Societies consist (as you may suppose) principally of desperate characters who express themselves very freely. The general conference was held in may last at Nottingham but my Informant does not know the business of it—

I do not know whether any of the Hosiers are acquainted with these Societies any further Information that may be required shall be immediately sought after by

your most obedt Servt
(Signed) Wm. Woodcock

[To] H Hobhouse Eq

This letter can be found at HO 42/135.

No comments:

Post a Comment