The Luddite Link Partnership: Communities, Commemoration, and Controversy

By Janette Martin.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Throughout 2012, the bicentenary of the Luddite uprising was widely celebrated in the town of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK. The Luddites were artisans whose skills were made redundant by the introduction of new machinery as the textile industry moved from domestic to industrial production in the opening decades of the nineteenth century. Huddersfield was at the epicentre of Yorkshire Luddism and here men attacked mills and broke the new cropping frames and, as the violence escalated, murdered a local mill owner. To mark the anniversary ‘the Luddite Link’, a partnership of local museums, archives, local history societies and theatres, headed by the University of Huddersfield, was set up to co-ordinate events and provide enduring learning resources on Luddism. At the centre of the project was a dedicated website www.ludditelink.org.uk. Commemorating a controversial political episode, particularly one with obvious resonance for contemporary labour conditions and anti-technology/science movements, is not without complications. This article explores the political and academic debates surrounding Luddism and how the act of commemoration can be contested and controversial.

Keywords: Museums, Knowledge, Stakeholders, Diversity, Region, Technology

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.131-139. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 647.176KB).

Dr Janette Martin

Research Fellow, History Department, School of Music, Humanities and Media, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK

Dr. Martin is a Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield. She received her doctorate from the University of York in 2010. Her research interests include nineteenth century reform movements, political oratory, biography and public history. Janette’s recent publications include: ‘Oratory, itinerant lecturing and Victorian popular politics: a case study of James Acland (1799-1876)’ Historical Research, 86: 23 (2013); ‘Reinventing the Tower Beefeater in the nineteenth century’ History, 98: 331 (2013). She is working on a book on popular political oratory in the Chartist era.

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