chapter  17
22 Pages

THE WORKSHOP OF THE WORLD: The industrial revolution


The industrial revolution, and its causes, is a topic engraved on the heart of every schoolchild. The great takeoff into sustained growth, during which Britain was transformed from a sleepy agricultural economy into the rst industrial nation, has been a topic of endless fascination, not least to those economists interested in nding out how other nations might undergo a similar transformation, or how Britain might reverse its current decline. Studies of the industrial revolution have in general been dominated by economic historians, whose primary interest is large-scale, macro-economic transformations based on statistical measures of economic indices. Only recently have social historians and historical geographers begun to look more closely at the idea, asking not only whether or not a revolution took place, but also whether small-scale social, domestic or local sources of evidence might not be as useful a source as macro-economic indicators.