The Swing Riots in West Sussex

Monday 3 June 2019


The Talk

The name Swing Riots is taken from the sending of anonymous letters, as in the earlier Luddite riots in the north of England. There, letters were often signed by a mythical ‘Ned Ludd’. Likewise some Swing Riot letters are signed by the mythical ‘Captain Swing’. However, although there are some similarities the Swing Riots are very much a rural based protest and therefore very different. They took place during the winter of 1830-1831, started in Kent and rapidly spread across the Country. However, most, but certainly not all, of the activity of machine breaking, incendiarism and mob action took place in the South of England. This talk looks at the background to these events, what happened during that winter and what happened afterwards. Local examples from West Sussex will be used to illustrate these points.

The Speaker

Susan Millard has a degree in History with Education and a Diploma in Archive Administration. She worked at West Sussex Record Office as Searchroom Supervisor for nine years and, then, as one of the team of Archivists for eighteen years. During this time she lectured widely around the County on various local and family history subjects and on the work of the Record Office. She is now retired but continues to lecture and lead historical tours. She is a member of West Sussex Archive Society.

Participant information

The talk will start with refreshments at 6pm and will begin at 6.30pm, duration of about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Fee and refreshments

£14 per person, £12 for Museum Annual Members; £5 for Weald & Downland Museum Volunteers. Book 5 places and get the 6th place free. To include tea, coffee and cake from 6pm. Please let the Museum know in advance if you have any dietary requirements.


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