Anstey is a large village in Leicestershire, England, located north west of Leicester in the borough of Charnwood with a population was about 6,000.
Known as the Gateway to Charnwood Forest, Anstey has another claim to fame, or infamy, in the shape of one Ned Ludd.
On the 9th of October 1779 Ned Ludd, an apprentice stocking maker, reportedly angered by the threat to his livelihood (according to one version), or annoyed at his father giving him a beating, destroyed a number of stocking frames with a hammer. News of the incident spread, and later whenever frames were sabotaged in protest at the growing industrialisation of their trades, people would jokingly say “Ned Ludd did it”.
Little detail is known about the first ‘Luddite’ attack in 1779, indeed in reality the true Luddite movement did not begin until the beginning of the 19th century. The Luddites were textile workers who protested against newly developed labour-saving machinery from 1811 to 1817. The stocking frames, spinning frames and power looms introduced during the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace the craftsmen with less-skilled, low-wage labourers, leaving them without work.
When the Luddites first took up their hammers, 32 years after the first attack, Ned’s identity was appropriated to become the folklore character of Captain Ludd, also known as King Ludd or General Ludd, the Luddites’ alleged leader and founder and who, like Robin Hood, was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest.
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