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The Industrial Revolution


  • The revolution started in Great Britain earlier than in other European countries.

  • From 1750 to 1850 British Industry underwent great changes.

  • There was a fundamental and drastic change in the industrial methods of England.

  • Before the Industrial Revolution, goods were produced by human hands and so limited quantities were produced.

  • After the revolution goods were produced in large quantities by machines in factories.



  • The textile work was done in cottages by people engaged in agriculture.

  • In cottage textile all men, women and children engaged in works by hands.

  • Weaving was done by men, straighten fibers were spun into continuous yarn by women and carding was done by children.

  • The system had many defects.

  • Therefore, some changes were necessary in the method of spinning if production was to be increased.

  • In the course of time a series of inventions made an entire transformation in this field. They are:

  1. John Kay’s flying shuttle – first mechanical invention- made in 1733.

  2. James Hargreaves’ spinning-jenny – helped to speeding up the making of yarn- made in 1764.

  3. Richard Arkwright’s the water-frame- changed spinning-jenny better with water-power- made in 1769.

  4. Samuel Crompton’s mule- he combined jenny and water-frame in this machine- made in 1779.

  5. Edmund Cartwright’s the power-loom- helped in increasing the speed of weaving- made in 1785.


  • In 1779, the world’s first iron bridge was made spanning the River Severn.

  • The development of iron trade was closely associated with coal industry because a new method of smelting iron with coal was devised.

  • These industries were developed high in places were both are found together like South Wales, South Yorkshire and Tyneside regions.

  • Inventions under these industries include:

  1. Newcomen’s Steam Engine – to pump water out of coal mines- made in 1705

  2. James Watt- a mathematician- perfected this steam engine- in 1763.


As the result of Industrial Revolution goods were produced large in number the need for transporting goods to cities and seaports became necessary.


  • After 1750 hundreds of roads were made and many turnpike trustees formed.

  • By 1840- 22,000 miles of good turnpike roads were formed in England and nearly 8,000 tollgates.

  • Telford- made many miles of roads.

  • Macadam- taught the art of road draining and perfected the surface of the roads- in 1815.


  • The first half of 18th Century was a period of much activity in deepening the navigable rivers.

  • The second half of 18th century was a period were the construction of new artificial waterways was made.

  • The Duke of Bridgewater- known as the father of inland navigation- connected his collieries with Manchester by canal.

  • This hastened the overseas trades.


  • George Stephenson- invented -first Locomotive; the first railway line between Stockton and Darlington (which was opened in 1825).

  • Liverpool and Manchester- linked by railway in 1830.

  • London and Birmingham in 1838.

  • The first successful steamboat- Bell’s Coment – began to run between Glasgow and Greenock- 1822.

  • A service was established between Dublin and Holyhead- 1820.

  • The first steam-boat reached Liverpool from America 1825.

  • Two vessels steamed from the British Isles to New York 1838.


  • The population of England increased to a very great extent.

  • Many new industrial towns like Sheffield, Birmingham and Manchester and Leeds developed rapidly.

  • Clustering of people together in places with no sanitation caused many diseases.

  • Though the revolution lead to great increase in wealth, it did not give happiness or comfort.

  • The old personal relationship of the employer and the employee which kept them in friendly terms disappeared.

  • England became the workshop of the world.

  • The production of goods on a large scale let the prices fall.

  • This led to increased demand for goods and in the end employment opportunities became high.


Social History of England by Louise Creighton

An Introduction to the Social History of England by A.G.Xavier

A Short History of Social Life in England by M B Synge

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