Based on Contemporary Accounts
Written by distinguished Huddersfield Author Ronnie Bray
Author's rough early notes viewable HERE
Luddite Spring is now being completed and edited
“I continue to think that
not only will this book be important
but will also make a great, epic movie.”
Dr Sharron Goldman-Walker
Round about the imprisoning mill, row on row on row of exceptionally unpretentious houses crowd together as if trying to hold off the dampness and cold of the fading winter night as another cold dawn breaks in 1811 as the old year struggles towards its close. Shadows cast by weak dawn sunshine sweep the mean streets before intensifying when the sun is fully grown in the sky on days when it breaks through the almost constant grey clouds. Daylight, grey at best, brings little cheer to the drab souls that wrap their scanty clothing around them to fend off the winter’s biting wind. They hope against hope that it neither snows nor rains before they scuttle back into their cheerless homes when their errands are done.
Nine out of ten beds in the town had been abandoned hours earlier when the night sky was still as black as Hell’s nightcap and the occupants rose to face the labours of the day, impelled by the fear that if they failed to work they would starve at a faster rate than they already did. Hastily throwing on their ragged garments, they ate a dry crust and drank water or the turning dregs of yesterday’s milk before stepping into the darkness carrying the smallest of their sleepy children as older ones plodded along behind as if newly risen from the dead and not yet accustomed to walking. Those still abed are unfit for labour because they are either babes in arms, broken in mind or body, elderly frail, or incapable of raising their limbs to the demands of the mechanised mill that broke them.
Few of the bedraggled souls that trudge the mean streets towards their workplaces speak to their fellows because sleep-seized limbs and minds are not yet fully operational. They are doomed to repeat the dreary pantomime from Monday to Saturday: poor lifeless creatures whose prospects grow not fairer with the passing of time.
As we behold the actors whose lives we follow, it is anticipated that our sympathy will not fail us as we observe their condition, mark their cynical exploitation, note their beggarly rewards, recognise their crushed hopes, sense their despair, and grieve at their unchanging failure to be blessed except by Death’s welcome summons.
Each event described in this story has been experienced at one time or another during the time frame of the story. Many of them have been the common experiences of innumerable souls. There is nothing in the sum and substance of their experiences that owes anything to misunderstanding or romanticism. It is told in the same humour as it was lived. It is hoped that by our empathy with the men, women, and children whose lives we follow we will become the guarantors that nothing like it ever happens again, but, if it does, that we will not allow it to continue one moment longer than it takes us to move into action and cause its demise. We can do not less.
It would be folly to suggest that the Huddersfield Luddite story begins where I begin it, or that it ends where I have written ‘The End,’ because nothing could be further from the truth. Its beginnings lie too far back for us to do more than darkly hint at them, and its end is as far away as its beginning is. I have painted a picture of the time, a slice of history that is personalised and localised with broad strokes of my brush on a dynamic canvas that has captured events, personalities, currents, and real lives in the brief period in which my novel is drawn.
An early, unedited copy of the original manuscript is serialised in weekly instalments at:
Huddersfield born Luddite
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