Handloom Weavers’ Uprising 1826

In less than four year’s time it will be the 200th anniversary of the Lancashire Weavers’ Uprising. The full story is told in “Riot! The Story of the East Lancashire Loom-Breakers in 1826” by William Turner, published 1992. It is a story which sadly is not well known in Lancashire, never mind elsewhere.

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The epicentre of the Uprising could be said to have been in Chatterton where six people died as a consequence of the actions of The 60th Duke of Yorks Own Rifle Corps when confronted by 3000 protesters. Many more were wounded. The shock waves spread across East Lancashire and beyond, to Bury, and Bacup,  Haslingden and Helmshore, Accrington and Blackburn, Tockholes and Chorley. Forty one of the protesters were sentenced to death, although the sentences were later commuted.

The country was in the midst of an economic crisis. The cotton industry was depressed, and there was unemployment and wage reductions. Lancashire handloom weavers suffered more than most. In that sense the uprising, although it involved much loom breaking, was not a version of Luddism. Nor, although it was only seven years after Peterloo, was it a cry for the suffrage or political change. (There is a Peterloo connection. The same JP read the Riot Act at Peterloo and on 27 April 1827 in Chorley when mills were attacked). The Uprising was a cry for help made by an impoverished population, facing starvation.

A Bicentennial Committee has been formed to

  • Stimulate interest in the uprising through events and other cultural activities.

  • Research and develop educational resources about the Uprising.

  • Promote a lasting legacy with self-guided walks and information boards.

  • Lobbying for pathway repairs to promote remembrance and tourism.

 More information can be obtained at

 

 

 John E Harrison