The Lives of the Framework Knitters

This section explores the lives of framework knitters through the nineteenth century, after the collapse of the Luddite rebellions.

Royal Commission

Contrary to the hopes of the rebels, the Luddite movement did not improve their lot at all. After many years of Parliament being petitioned by poverty-stricken framework knitters, a Royal Commission was set up in 1844, in which witnesses for all aspects of the trade gave evidence. This page contains extracts from these vivid accounts, with activity suggestions and introductory teachers’ notes.


The Ruddington census returns for 1851 and 1891 give a picture of how many people in the village worked in one way or another for the framework knitting trade.

Early photographs
photographs Early photographs and images of framework knitters provide crucial evidence of how they lived and worked. To see these images, visit Framework Knitters in our gallery.