chapter  7
37 Pages

The Second Industrial Revolution, c.1870–c.1918

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a period which has been referred to as the Second Industrial Revolution, the decline of agriculture continued, so that it accounted for 6.4% of Britain’s national output in 1913 (see Table 6.4), the same as mining and quarrying, while manufacturing, transport and communication, commerce and ‘public and professional’ continued to grow. The overall rates of output growth in several other industrialised and industrialising nations began to outstrip that of Britain, threatening her economic dominance. With other countries embracing new technologies in steel manufacture, in chemicals and in electrical engineering, British fi rms found it increasingly di cult to compete in these sectors and in the production of new consumer goods such as the motorcar. Although there are disagreements as to precisely when Britain’s relative economic decline set in, by the First World War it is clear that Britain’s growth rate was lagging behind those of major competitors such as Germany and the USA (Lewis 1967; Kirby 1981).