Britain’s emergence as a great industrial power during the nineteenth century was driven primarily by growth in a few key industries - iron and steel, textiles, coal, and shipbuilding. Technological change transformed these industries, and helped generate dramatic social change in the country beyond.
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This module examines the social and economic transformation of certain regions through the unprecedented scale of this industrial growth. Britain now evolved from an essentially rural society, albeit with some isolated areas of industry, to become a predominantly urban and industrial society.
The late eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century had witnessed the birth of the industrial revolution. A series of inventions and innovations permitted widespread industrial change. These would include the development of factory production of textiles, the ability to create large quantities of iron, the introduction of the steam engine and the rapid emergence of the railway system. These now expanded and affected an ever larger part of the population.
Halifax, West Yorkshire - a nineteenth-century textile town. Piece Hall, the cloth market seen in the learning module called ‘Textiles: From domestic to factory production’ lies behind the church in the centre left.