Wednesday, 23 November 2011

23rd November 1811: Frame-breaking comes to Derbyshire & Luddites win concessions

Conant & Baker reported1 that on Saturday 23rd Novmber, "one Frame was broken at Ilkeston in Derbyshire but further mischief was prevented by coercive and conciliatory measures being resorted to", but are entirely vague about what either of these measures were. Darvall2 quotes a passage from Felkin3 as evidence that concessions were being offered to Luddites at this early stage:
It was in this last week of November, 1811, that the writer of these lines, then a youth of scarcely seventeen, was required by his masters to get into the saddle and make a long round, to convey the information that if their frames, of which they employed about 3000, were spared from the destruction with which they were threatened, one shilling per dozen advance would be paid the following Saturday, and be continued whether others paid it or not. It was a dreary afternoon with heavy rain and winter sleet. He rode hard, and at Basford, Bulwell, Eastwood, Heanor, Ilkiston, Smalley, Sawiey, Kegworth, Gotham and Ruddington, delivered to their head frame-work-knitters the joyful news of the offered advance. The wintry storm, though uncomfortable enough to the messenger, tended greatly to the success of his message. It prevented for that night the marauding parties employing themselves; these frames had been undoubtedly doomed, for an example, as belonging to one of the most influential houses in the trade. The promise made was faithfully performed; not one of their frames was injured, and no further fears were excited as to the safety of their property.

1. HO 42/119
2. Darvall (1934, p.76)
3. Felkin (1867, p.233)

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