Saturday, 22 October 2011

22nd October 1811: frame-breaking returns to Arnold

All of the publications about Nottinghamshire Luddism agree that after a lull of 6 months, the disturbances recommenced on 'Mischief Night' (4th November) in 1811. However, the Home Office records hold vital evidence that frame-breaking had begun at least a fortnight earlier, and at the same location as in March - the village of Arnold.

A notice that appears to be unconnected with any other document offers 150 Guineas (total) reward for information leading to the conviction of a 'number of persons' who entered the house of a Framework-Knitter, William Marshall, at Red Hill near Arnold at one o'clock in the morning and destroyed five stocking-frames, as well as stealing a large piece of cloth. The owner of the frames appears to be James Pritt & Co, because the notice states the reward will be paid at their warehouse at St. Mary's Church Yard, Nottingham.

This document appears in the Home Office archive at HO 42/117. A J.J & D Pritt had signed a statement in the Nottinghamshire Papers in January 1811 undertaking to not reduce their prices prior to the first appearance of frame-breaking in March.

In addition, a letter from a Thomas Hayne, Lace Manufacturer, to the Home Office on 12th February 1812 states that frame-breaking recommenced 'at the beginning of October 1811, when some more frames were broken at Arnold, at Bulwell, at Basford etc'. The letter can be found at HO 42/131.

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