In the 18th century, England reached a peak of wool production. Soon new machines would drive up the demand for cottons and other materials, but for now, wool was king.
In Mills across the country, machines started to replace paid jobs that local people had held for generations. This change didn’t always happen peacefully.
In December 1797, magistrates in Bath learned of a plan by unemployed wool workers to march to the Upper Wool mill at Twerton, burn it down and murder its owner – Samuel Bamford.
Bamford had introduced mechanized shearing machinery which had put many of these men out of work.
1,000 men were expected to make the march and the magistrates ordered a company soldiers and dragoons to defend the mill. However only around 60 showed up, they were arrested and later released without charge.
Images: Museum of Bath at Work – Bath@Work Twerton Riots 1, Bath@Work Twerton Riots 2, Bath@Work Twerton Riots 3, Bath@Work Twerton Riots 4, Bath@Work Twerton Riots 5