Luddites radio show for local historian

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A LOCAL historian will take to the airways today discussing our area’s role in one of history’s most controversial times.

Dr John Hargreaves, from Halifax, will feature on the BBC Radio 4 programme The Luddite Lament.

The programme marks the bicentenary of the outbreak of the Luddite machine breaking, which started in Nottinghamshire in 1811 and spread to Yorkshire the year after.

The programme, hosted by folk singer John Tams, will look back at the people and places involved in the Luddite uprising. Dr Hargreaves said: “To some, it was a rebellion but others argue the men at the heart of the machine breaking were fighting for their lives.”

Mr Tams wrote some of the scripts for and appeared in the episode of TV show Sharpe, filmed at Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge, which focused on the Luddites.

He has now returned to the area to interview Dr Hargreaves.

There are several local connections to the story. Halifax man Samuel Hartley was one of those who guided the group across Hartshead Moor to attack William Cartwright’s mill in April 1812. He was buried at South Parade methodist church, and his burial stone is now in Stoney Royd Cemetery.

The plan of attack is thought to have been devised at the former Crispin Inn in Halifax, which is now re-created at Shibden Hall.

“There were a number of men from Halifax who became heavily involved, and some of those paid with their lives,” said Dr Hargreaves.

During the show Mr Tams performs an unaccompanied version of the Cropper song, written about the Yorkshire Luddites.

It will broadcast from 11.30am this morning, and will be available on BBC iPlayer for a week afterwards.