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Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Population

(a) The number of people living in a country (that is, the population) is an important factor in moulding its economic, social and political structure (see diagram below).

David Taylor

Chapter 2. The Agrarian Revolution 1750–1850

(a) At the start of the eighteenth century about half of the arable farming areas of England were still under the open field system. This method was widely used in the Midlands, East Anglia and central southern England. In other parts of the country like the Lake District, North Wales, Kent, Devon and Cornwall, the open field system had never existed or had disappeared during Tudor times when the land was enclosed for livestock farming.

David Taylor

Chapter 3. The Industrial Revolution

Beginning sometime in the late eighteenth century a number of changes took place which transformed Britain into an industrial and urbanised society. The changes involved were: Industry became the foundation of the nation’s economy rather than agriculture.The bulk of the population became urban dwellers as towns developed on the coalfields of Britain.Most industrial activity took place in purpose-built factories, rather than people’s houses.Steam became the main source of power to drive machinery, rather than muscle, animal and water power.There was a rapid growth of industrial output leading to the development of a large export trade.The industrial changes brought widespread social repercussions on the way people lived, worked and played. It has become usual for historians to describe these changes as the ‘Industrial Revolution’. This is a convenient term, but also one which has engendered widespread debate.

David Taylor

Chapter 4. The Textile Industry 1700–1850

In the early eighteenth century the textile industry consisted of four materials — wool, cotton, silk and linen. The industry was organised on the domestic system using hand-powered machinery; wool was by far the most important fabric. By 1850 the textile industry had been totally transformed into one which was based on the factory system with steam-powered machinery. Output was vastly increased as a result. By now cotton was the dominant sector of the textile industry. How and why these changes occurred will be the main theme of this chapter, along with an assessment of the role of the cotton industry in the industrialisation of Britain.

David Taylor

Chapter 5. The Luddites

The Luddite Riots occurred during 1811–12 and again in 1816 with the counties of Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire being affected. The riots involved the smashing of machinery and, in some areas, setting fire to mills. Most of the standard texts present the Luddites as industrial hooligans, smashing machines which they thought were a threat to their jobs. This view, however, has recently been challenged by writers such as E. P. Thompson and Norman Longmate. There is more to Luddism than at first meets the eye.

David Taylor

Chapter 6. The Coal Industry 1700–1850

In 1700 Britain produced about 2.5 million tonnes of coal: in 1854, the first year that official figures became available, the output had risen to 64.7 million tonnes. This increase reflects the importance of coal in the industrialisation of Britain. It formed a vital link with many parts of the economy and provided the platform for the expansion of many industries, particularly the iron industry. During this period mines became deeper and miners faced hardship and increasing danger in winning the ‘black diamond’.

David Taylor

Chapter 7. The Iron Industry 1700–1850

Historians of the industrial revolution such as T. S. Ashton and Phyllis Deane, rightly emphasise the ‘key role’ played by the iron industry in the industrialisation of Britain between 1780 and 1850. In 1700 the British iron industry was in the doldrums and facing a number of problems which prevented it from progressing. During the course of the eighteenth century the industry expanded on such a scale that it was able to supply a host of industries and contribute to the export market. The transformation was due to a series of technical improvements in the manufacturing processes (which were rapidly adopted) and the existence of a group of ironmasters not afraid to risk their capital.

David Taylor

Chapter 8. The Pottery Industry 1700–1900

Prior to the eighteenth century, the quality of British pottery was very basic. It consisted of wares which were brown, black or dirty yellow in colour. The nobility preferred to use pewter mugs whilst the poor ate from wooden plates. In the early eighteenth century the location of the pottery industry was widespread and scattered. Wherever there were deposits of suitable clay, pottery was made. Bristol, Derby, Worcester, Glasgow and North Staffordshire were all important local centres. The organisation was, however, very much based on a domestic system. A common pattern was for a farmer and his family to make pottery as a ‘sideline’. Many farmers had their own kiln and they sold their wares at the nearest local market. From about 1750 changes began to take place in the British pottery industry which resulted in it becoming a major factory-based industry. Most of the changes were inspired by Josiah Wedgwood in North Staffordshire.

David Taylor

Chapter 9. The Development of Power 1700–1850

The development of steam-power was arguably the most vital element in the industrialisation of Britain; in the opinion of T. S. Ashton, ‘steam was the pivot on which industry swung into the modern age’. Certainly, to be able to mass-produce goods in factories a reliable form of motive power was needed — and steam supplied this need. Just how rapid was the development of the steam-engine is a matter of conjecture. Recent research suggests that the transformation from traditional forms of power (wind, water and animals) was relatively gradual and took some time to come about.

David Taylor

Chapter 10. Road Transport

This chapter traces the improvements that took place in the quality of British roads between 1750 and 1830. In the early part of the eighteenth century British roads were in an appalling condition. It was due to the development of the Turnpike Trusts and civil engineering that some of the road network was improved to meet the economic and social needs of the country. An attempt will also be made to assess the importance of developments in road transport in the context of the whole process of industrialisation.

David Taylor

Chapter 11. Canals

From about 1760 to 1830 a widespread network of canals was built in Britain. This was a staggering achievement and one which was vital for the industrialisation process. Without canals the movement of huge volumes of heavy goods would not have been possible. Canals answered a need at a crucial time.

David Taylor

Chapter 12. Railways

Although railway lines, plateways, waggon-ways or tramways had been used in Britain since the seventeenth century, it was not until the early nineteenth century that ‘modern railways’ were developed. This was when the locomotive — a steam-engine on wheels — was invented, to haul carriages along a track. It took the early locomotive designers some time to solve the technical problems but once they had been overcome, the potential of the ‘modern’ railway was quickly seen by businessmen and industrialists and the growth of the railway network between 1825 and 1875 was astounding.

David Taylor

Chapter 13. The Development of Shipping 1800–1939

As we have already seen, an industrial country needs an efficient system of transport to convey raw materials to the factories and finished products to market. In the nineteenth century Britain’s economy stimulated the development of roads, canals and railways for internal transport. The import and export of goods, however, depended on ships and, predictably, the period 1800–1939 saw the gradual improvement of shipbuilding and design. This trend involved a change from wood to iron and steel as the main shipbuilding material, the adoption of steamships instead of sailing ships, and the production of sophisticated marine engines.

David Taylor

Chapter 14. Factory Reform

(a) What is meant by ‘the factory system’?

David Taylor

Chapter 15. Social and Economic Conditions in Britain 1793–1822

In 1789 the French lower and middle classes, dissatisfied with their conditions and the absolute rule of the monarch, rose in rebellion. France was plunged into chaos which culminated in the King, Louis XVI, being guillotined by his own subjects in 1793; this was the French Revolution. European countries with monarchies were horrified at these events and declared war on France, including Britain. Eventually, Napoleon, the French Emperor, was beaten in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Thus, Britain was at war with France for a period of 22 years, with a brief gap of six months’ peace in 1801–2. Although no fighting took place on British soil, the war inevitably had economic and social effects for the nation. The immediate post-war years between 1815 and 1822 brought a period of ‘distress and discontent’ and growing demands for the reform of Parliament.

David Taylor

Chapter 16. The Poor Law 1750–1948

The failure to provide the basic necessities of life — food, clothes and shelter — results in a state of poverty. The problem of poverty has long been a thorn in the side of society and this period was no exception.

David Taylor

Chapter 17. Law and Order 1700–1900

The methods of law enforcement were established during the Middle Ages and the reign of Queen Elizabeth I; the authorities dealing with the maintenance of law and order were amateur in status and, as with the Old Poor Law, the parish was used as the basic unit for administration.

David Taylor

Chapter 18. Education 1750–1944

(a) Most children today are educated in state schools with only a small minority paying to attend schools in the private sector. The state, therefore, plays a direct and influential role in the position of education. State education policy is formulated at the Department of Education and Science in London.

David Taylor

Chapter 19. Public Health in Britain 1750–1900

‘Public Health’ is the notion that all the people in a country should be fit and healthy. Such a notion can only be realised if all people live and work in a clean environment, have a balanced diet and a high standard of medical care. In the early nineteenth century none of these preconditions applied to the population of Britain with the exception of the upper classes. The main reason for this was that the industrial take-off brought the rapid growth of towns. Such was the growth of the urban population that proper drainage, sanitation and water-supply were ignored and the housing accommodation was ‘jerry-built’. Disease was rife and death rates were alarmingly high.

David Taylor

Chapter 20. Trade and Trading Policy Since 1750

(a) This chapter deals with the general trading policy adopted in Britain over the last 250 years or so. In 1750 Britain’s trade was regulated and her industries protected under the ‘mercantilist system’, but by 1860 she had developed a policy of ‘free trade’. After this there was, by 1932, a return to ‘protection’, which has been reversed, with Britain joining the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973.

David Taylor

Chapter 21. Working-Class Movements

Before the ‘industrial take-off’ a homogeneous ‘working class’ did not exist in British society. Instead workers were divided into trades and crafts each with their own particular interests at heart and, as such, it is more accurate to refer to the ‘labouring classes’. By 1900, however, this situation had changed. Industrialisation and the factory system had eroded the traditional bonds between employer and employee and the result was the emergence of a uniform working class — conscious of the need to defend itself against the strength of the employers. This class-feeling originated through a number of different organisation and groups which collectively constitute ‘the working-class movements’. They were: Trade UnionsChartismThe Labour PartyFriendly SocietiesThe Co-operative Movement This chapter will trace the development of each of these movements.

David Taylor

Chapter 22. Industrial Developments 1850–1914

(a) This period as a whole saw the continued growth of the staple (or basic) industries which had been at the centre of the ‘industrial take-off’ of the late eighteenth century; these industries included coal, textiles, shipbuilding and iron and steel. From the 1880s newer light industries began to emerge and this has been described by some historians as ‘the second industrial revolution’.

David Taylor

Chapter 23. Agriculture in Britain 1815–1914

British agriculture experienced mixed fortunes between 1815 and 1914 and, overall, declined in importance within the economy compared with the industrial sector. Its gradual demise may be illustrated by reference to the numbers employed in agriculture (see below): Year% of adult male work force in agriculture18512018811619115

David Taylor

Chapter 24. The Emancipation of Women

Whether women today have equality with men in society is very much a ‘live issue’. A brief synopsis of the present position of women may be of use: In 1971 The Equal Pay Act was passed, an effort to give women pay comparability with men.In 1975 The Sex Discrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate between men and women in employment (amongst other things).In 1981 40 per cent of the work force was female.Women are now able to enter the professions without too many ‘eye-brows being raised’.Women are able to vote at the age of 18 on equal terms with men and without a property qualification. On the surface quite an impressive list, but many would argue that women are still treated as ‘second-class’ citizens and have some way to go before they achieve equal status with .men. This may well be true but it remains a fact that the status of women is immeasurably better now than it was 100 years ago.

David Taylor

Chapter 25. The Social Reforms of the Liberal Government 1906–14

In January 1906 the Liberals were returned to power with a landslide majority. The full result of the General Election was: Liberals377 seatsIrish Nationalists83 seatsLabour & Sympathisers53 seatsConservatives157 seatsLiberals Overall Majority84 seats Despite being one of the world’s leading industrial nations, poverty was still a serious problem in Britain. During the latter part of the nineteenth century governments had made some progress in extending elementary education, strengthening trade unions and in providing public health, but a number of social evils still remained. Winston Churchill suggested that casual labour, unemployment, under-nourishment and poverty were the most urgent problems the Liberals should attack.

David Taylor

Chapter 26. The First World War (1914–18) and its Effects

(a) Before the First World War (1914–18) Britain’s wealth was based on the strength of her basic industries — iron and steel, textiles, shipbuilding and coal-mining. Her people had become used to being regarded as the world’s premier industrial country, although this position had been under challenge from America and Germany since the 1880s (see chapter 22). Britain was also the financial centre of the world, providing banking facilities and loaning capital to the developing nations (in 1914 Britain had £4000 million invested overseas). These ‘invisible exports’ were of vital importance to the British economy, enabling her to have a favourable balance of payments. The basis of international finance prior to the war was the Gold Standard which was designed to keep exchange rates between currencies stable and where money was linked to gold reserves. Sterling was the international currency with London holding gold for the entire world.

David Taylor

Chapter 27. The Trade Unions 1914–39

Trade union history in this period was dominated by the General Strike of 1926. A General Strike, in the fullest sense, is a strike by the whole of the labour force at the same time.

David Taylor

Chapter 28. Industry Between the Wars 1919–39

Industry between the wars presents a two-sided image. The basic industries based on the coalfields suffered a dreadful slump. The new industries, however, established themselves in the area around London and the South-East. After 1934, in particular, these areas enjoyed growing prosperity. This chapter describes the fortunes of each industry and should be studied in conjunction with chapter 29 which examines the depression of the thirties.

David Taylor

Chapter 29. The Wall Street Crash and the Depression of the Thirties

(a) America emerged from the First World War as a creditor nation, that is one which lent money to other countries. In particular she lent huge sums of money to help European countries recover from the war and this established a complicated interconnected network of ‘international indebtedness. For example: Such a network was operational only as long as America maintained her capacity to make the initial loans (between 1924 and 1928she lent out an estimated 5.75 million dollars).

David Taylor

Chapter 30. The Home Front During the Second World War 1939–45

The Second World War was a total war which demanded the effort of the whole nation to ensure survival and, ultimately, victory. It was also a war where the state necessarily became involved in directing the economy and organising society: in the words of David Thomson it produced ‘a sense of national purpose’, which was used to pursue ‘social justice’ after 1945. This chapter will concentrate on the Home Front and the social and economic impact the war had on Britain.

David Taylor

Chapter 31. The Labour Government 1945–51

On 26 July 1945 the results of the General Election were announced with Labour gaining a landslide victory. Winston Churchill was stunned by his defeat, but the electorate associated him with a party which fostered class division and privilege. It was clear that the British public was of the opinion that the Labour Party was better equipped to implement the social policies which were needed to ‘win the peace for the people’. There appeared to be a mood prevalent which said that the mistakes of the post-1918 years and the mass unemployment of the thirties would not be repeated. The Labour Party Manifesto ‘Let us Face the Future’ captured this mood when it stated that ‘the nation wants food, work … and labour saving homes, … security for all against a rainy day … a great programme of modernisation … of its factories, … its schools, its social services’.

David Taylor

Chapter 32. Communications and Transport Since 1840

(a) In 1840 the quickest method of travel was the railway, the postal services were only just on the point of improvement, the press was limited in output, and there were no telephones, radios or television. In the mid-1980s we do not think twice about receiving mail and newspapers daily or telephoning the other side of the world or watching events on the television ‘live’ from distant locations. We live in an age of mass communication which has come about in the last 150 years.

David Taylor

Chapter 33. Britain 1951–86

(a) On 3 May 1951, King George VI, speaking from the steps of St Pauls’s Cathedral, declared the Festival of Britain officially open. The centre piece of the festival was a huge exhibition on the south bank of the River Thames, which cost the taxpayer £11 million to stage. The displays on show illustrated ‘Modern Britain’, reflecting the latest developments in industry, transport, housing, education, the arts, the sciences and technology. By the time the exhibition closed on 30 September 1951 it had attracted 8 455 863 visitors. In addition, hundreds of local events (pageants, displays, dances, etc.) were organised throughout the country.

David Taylor

Backmatter

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