Repression And Resistance In West Riding Luddism

(A Paper delivered at the ‘Enoch’s Hammer’ conference, University of Huddersfield, 12th May 2012).

Machinery…is a thief and would rob thousands, we shall find that it shall be the destruction of this country. America won’t get a deal by it – it will be the destruction of that country and in the end, I will venture to say, it will be the destruction of the universe.’[1]

So spoke William Leadbeater, a local ‘operative’, (his occupation is not recorded), at a meeting in Huddersfield in 1830. We may laugh at the hyperbole, as did those at the meeting, but this quote illustrates a couple of vital points. Continue reading