chapter  VII
21 Pages

The Textile Machine-Making Industry and the World Market 1870-1960

During 1983 a great transformation occurred in the British balance of trade when for the first time since the fourteenth century the United Kingdom became a net importer of manufactured goods and in particular of 'machinery and transport equipment' . In 1984 Britain became a net importer of 'textile and leather machinery' , so ending the era which had begun in 1771 with the shipment of the first spinning jenny to France . I In this process of change the role of the British textile machine-making industry had been twofold . Firstly , it had provided the Lancashire cotton industry with cheap and efficient machinery . Secondly , it had equipped with even more efficient machinery the foreign competitors of Lancashire . That function had been long fulfilled by the time that Britain became a net importer of cotton manufactures in 1960 and of textiles in 1978.