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This blog is from 17 June 2017

In our back garden are five posts .

These short posts are older than our hose, or any of the other buildings around. They are all that remains of the tenter fields from the days before industrialisation. Metal poles would have been attached to the small stone posts. Another sign of the area’s past is in the name of the nearest pub, The Croppers Arms.

Croppers were skilled cloth finishers. Part of that finishing process was to stretch the wet cloth between two rows of small hooks and allow it to dry in the sun. This is where the phrase “on tenterhooks” comes from.

200 years ago the croppers, along with other textile workers, had to fight for their jobs. The croppers, in particular, feared thaat

There is a blue plaque to commemorate one incident near the Dumb Steeple situated at the junction of the A62 and A644. As the legend states it was the meeting point for an attack by Luddites.

We use the term Luddite these days to describe those who are against progress or against technology. The original Luddites were not like this at all. As finishing looms were installed in factories the croppers lost work.

The political situation in Britain was this, fighting two wars, the Napoleonic wars in Europe and the American War of Independence the country was in an economic depression. King George III was suffering madness, and his son the Prince Regent (later George IV) was reigning in his place. The Prince was notorious for extravagant use of money on himself and his mistresses, such as the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. Wheat prices soared in 1812, and many of those made jobless were unable to feed their families. What is more the government did nothing to help. Instead it protected the factory owners by bringing in the death penalty for breaking the frames and bringing in troops to deter the Luddites. The garrison in Huddersfield was 10% of the population of the town.

For people to attack the mills they had to be desperate. They were. De. sperate people take desperate measures. The outcome of the attack on the commemorated attack on Cartwrights Mill was that the croppers failed to gain entry to the Mill, but two of them were killed by the armed guards who were protecting the premises. 14 others were later hanged for being part of the riot.

All that is left now to remember it is a strange stone obelisk, the name of a pub and some stone posts.

One thought on “Luddites

  1. Pingback: Richard Oastler and the Luddites – Making an ass of myself

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