Who was General Ned Ludd, the inspiration of Luddism and the Luddites?
The possibly fictional Ned Lud (or Ludd, aka Ned Ludlam) was an English weaver who became the basis for the legendary character General Ludd (sometimes known as Captain or King Ludd)--leader of the Luddites. The Luddites were a 19th century group of English textile workers who protested against the modernized changes of the Industrial Revolution by destroying their mechanical weaving looms. They chose Ned Lud as their hero for a single act of anger attributed to him in 1779. Lud, who hailed from Anstley (near Leicester), wrecked a pair of knitting frames in a fit of rage one day, and after his act was publicized, his name became associated with the sabotage of such items. The Luddites, who organized about 30 years later, took
Lud's name as their own, and Ned has been memorialized in songs and literature ever since.