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MAKING THE MODERN WORLD
Stories about the lives we've made

module:The workshop of the world

Industrial growth in late nineteenth century Britain

page:Evidence of change: Population patterns II

A similar contrast can be seen for women in the textile industry, although here the proportion of women in formal occupations and working in the textile industries fell while the absolute number of those employed grew substantially.


Women in Textiles. Numerical Increase

Women in Textiles. Percentage Increase

Colliery on the Northumberland and Durham coalfield, c.1845. picture zoom © Science Museum/Science and Society Picture Library



Shop catering for the mining communities of the Durham coalfields, c.1900. picture zoom © John Hare

The generation of new jobs created directly by the growth of a new industry was also supplemented by the demand for people to service these industries and their workers, from builders and craftsmen, to shop-workers and sellers of food and drink.


Shop catering for the mining communities of the Durham coalfields, c.1900. picture zoom © John Hare

Moreover, the geographic concentration of industries generating new jobs attracted more and more people to these areas. As Glamorgan and Durham were important centres for coal and iron and steel, both counties experienced spectacular growth in population. Each of these counties gained an extra million inhabitants between 1841 and 1911, the former increasing its population by 6½ times and the latter by 4½ times in the same period.


Hetton Colliery, North Yorkshire, c.1822. picture zoom © Science Museum/Science and Society Picture Library


Large-scale immigration was also witnessed in other industrial areas such as Lancashire, Yorkshire and Clydeside. Many of the immigrants were British, moving from regions with a surplus population like much of Scotland and Ireland. Others came from abroad, typically from elsewhere in Europe.

The social transformation of Britain in the later nineteenth century up to 1914 can best be seen by examining developments in each of the key industries mentioned earlier. Each industry became increasingly dominated by export production for world markets and in turn was to help transform particular regions of the country. This is examined in the forthcoming sections of the module.

Resource Descriptions

Colliery on the Northumberland and Durham coalfield, c.1845.
Shop catering for the mining communities of the Durham coalfields, c.1900.
Shop catering for the mining communities of the Durham coalfields, c.1900.
Hetton Colliery, North Yorkshire, c.1822.
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