Saturday, 13 August 2016

13th August 1816: Preston weavers use sabotage, attack home of local MP & mill-owner

The Leeds Mercury of 24th August 1816 carried an article from the Preston Chronicle about unrest in Preston on Tuesday 13th August 1816, much of it targeted at the local mill-owner & MP for Preston, Samuel Horrocks:
We are sorry to state that in consequence of the manufacturers being necessitated to reduce the wages on some descriptions of cotton goods, a disposition to break the peace was manifested, by a party of weavers parading the streets of this town, on Tuesday last, and in some cases, destroying the shuttles of such as were inclined to continue at their work. Towards evening they had accumulated to a considerable body, and after consulting together they proceeded to the house of Mr. Horrocks: not finding him at home, some of the part, chiefly boys and women, commenced an attack, by breaking the windows of the house, and tearing up the shrubs in the grounds; but these outrages, not being seconded by the main body, were but of short duration. Next morning they assembled in still greater numbers at the outskirts of the town. They were met by a great posse of serjeants and corporals of the Lancaster militia, stationed in the town, who in a few hours dispersed the mob, after taking some of the most active into custody. The precautionary views of the Magistrates induced them, on the first indication of riot, to send for a party of military to Liverpool, but order was completely restored before they arrived; and the weavers have now settled themselves quietly to work again.—Preston Chronicle, August 17.

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