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How Was Britain Able to Establish Itself as the 'Workshop of the World'?

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How Was Britain Able to Establish Itself as the 'Workshop of the World'? During the period of 1780 to 1846, Britain established itself as the world's largest industrial country, or in the words of a journalist from the time the 'Workshop of the World'. Britain produced many raw materials, which were used for industry, in Britain and throughout the world. As a result of trade Britain became a very wealthy country. Prior to 1780 Britain realised the beneficial factors it could develop to become a well organised, industrialized society. Trade and overseas trade was the biggest of factors, which allowed Britain to establish itself as the 'Workshop of the World', but other factor included mechanisation and transport. Just how did these factors assist Britain in its transformation into a 'well oiled' society? Trade in 1780 expanded on a worldwide scale. Britain was at the centre of this expansion. At the time of the industrial revolution Britain had an expanse of world in its possession. The British Empire consisted of countries such as America and India, both that had mass products of export. As Phil Chapple said in his book The Industrialisation of Britain 1780-1914 overseas trade was a very 'important stimulus to manufacturing and commerce'. Britain benefited from strong commercial links with America, whom produced cotton in the South, which Britain processed into textiles to then be re-exported to other countries. ...read more.


Yet the influence that turnpikes had on transport was incomparable to that of canals. In 1776 the first canal or water way was constructed in Bridgewater. The waterway was an alternative transport for goods of trade. The majority of traders found that canals were cheaper to transport vast quantities of raw material such as iron, due to the fact that they did not have to pay a toll on what they carried, only a fee for the transport. In fact the first Bridgewater canal brought down the price of coal in Manchester form twelve shillings a ton to six shillings. This fifty percent reduction was a great help to the people living Manchester, who used coal to cook and keep their houses warm. It also allowed factories to introduce steam engines to replace waterpower. Eventually railways proved to be the best form of transport, and they gradually destroyed horse-drawn transport and canals. As water transport faced many problems, due to great demand for a form of even faster transport, in 1820 railways were introduced to enable industry to grow further. Many traders complained about canal transport, much of their goods were pilling up in the docks, and they wanted more barges to be available. The period of 1844-48 was known as 'Railway Mania'; due to the success of the Liverpool and Manchester railway hundreds of companies were set up to build railway lines; and thousands of miles of track was laid. ...read more.


of track, therefore through or non-stop travel was difficult. If all the train lines were the same then Britain would of reached an even higher level of industry. Today we see that the same train lines throughout the country does prove to be easier. However there are still and will always is some problem with transport. Or maybe not problems but more improvements could be made. This is really what is happening to the world around us all the time, and all the time, and in the industrial revolution mass change and development happened all at once in a very small space of time. Britain was able to become the 'workshop of the world' by many other factors as well as trade, transport, and mechanisation. Some of which included population growth; however the factors mention in this essay are the biggest influential factors. Britain managed to sustain its supremacy of the world throughout the 134 years of the industrial revolution. Still Britain inevitably before the First World War lost its wealth advantage over the other countries of the world, mainly due to the cost of war and was most industry workers went away to fight for their country, not many people were left to run the factories. Eventually women took over the work of men, but with less pay and also Britain was able to sustain enough wealth to keep the country running. Laura Curnock 09/05/2007 C:\WINDOWS\Profiles\CuRn (r)\My Documents\School work\History\Industrial Revolution (Dave)\How Was Britain Able to Establish Itself as the.doc 1 ...read more.

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