Luddite sculpture gets go-ahead

A WORK of art commemorating the 1812 Luddite uprising in Spen is a step nearer after the project received the backing of councillors.

Spen Valley Civic Society wants to commission the work in time for the 200th anniversary of the ill-fated attack at Cartright’s Mill at Rawfolds.

The sculpture will be installed at a derelict plot of land the society has bought at the corner of Knowler Hill and Halifax Road in Liversedge.

The society has already received a £20,000 grant to transform it into a park and hopes to commission the same artist who created the iconic Miner’s Memorial sculpture at Oakwell Hall

On Tuesday the Spen Valley Town and Valley Committee approved an application from the society for £14,500 for the sculpture.

Civic Society vice-chairman Gordon North said: “We would like to have the statue open in April 2012, which will be 200 years after the Luddites were shot and tortured in the Spen Valley.”

A report to the meeting explained how the Luddite events were a big part of Spen Valley’s history. Two centuries ago Hightown was a stronghold of protest against mechanisation in the manufacture of cloth. Due to machinery being installed by mill owners, the skilled and well paid croppers were losing their jobs.

The Luddites met at the Shears Inn to plan night attacks on wagons carrying shearing frames and on April 12, 1812, they attacked Cartwrights Mill. The attack was repulsed and two men later died of gunshot wounds.

Ward councillor Margaret Bates said: “It is important that we capture this history, even if it is 200 years after the event! It is important that their feelings of residents are taken into consideration though as it is they who have got to live next to it. Providing that all the feedback comes back positive then I support it.”