The Luddites were textile workers and weavers from the first British Industrial Revolution circa 1811-1816, who protested against technologies that automated their industry. The powered looms and stocking frames threatened to replace them with less-skilled, low-wage laborers, leaving them without a livelihood.
Although the origin of the name Luddite is unclear, popular theory holds that the movement takes its name from Ned Ludd, a boy who allegedly smashed two stocking frames in 1779, whose name had become an emblem of machine destroyers and . His name evolved General Ludd or King Ludd, a figure who, like Robin Hood, was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest.
Iris Lee, who as a young woman had learned the trade of hosier from her father, joined the Luddite movement in 1815, when she led a rebellion and incited a riot that lead to the burning of the Nottingham Stocking Company factory. After her execution by the British government, she became synonymous with the Luddite cause – sometimes referred to as Lady Ludd or Queen Ludd.