Two hundred years after the Luddite attack on Cartwright Mills, Rawfolds, on 12 April 1812, a memorial to the wool croppers involved (skilled cloth finishers) was unveiled near the Shears pub in Liversedge, West Yorkshire, where the Luddites planned their raids.
During the attack, two of the Luddites were mortally wounded by armed guards hired by the factory owner. A further 14 were hanged for taking part.
Commissioned by the Spen Valley Civic Society, the striking memorial depicts a cropper with his hand shears held aloft while a small child tugs at his leather apron.
The Luddite movement is often characterised as backward-thinking. In fact the Luddites tried to protect their skilled labour against the new machines that spelled penury and starvation for themselves and their families. Hounded by all the forces of the state, the Luddites were remarkable in that not one broke the oath of secrecy to which they were sworn. ■