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What factors made rapid industrialisation possible in England 1750-1850?

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What factors made rapid industrialisation possible in England 1750-1850? Historians and economists have constantly debated this question since the aforementioned dates, and the answer is different depending on whose evidence you read. For there to be rapid industrial growth there needs to be many factors present at the beginning and throughout the period. There needs to be drastic improvements in technology, which will be the power to drive the factories. A large and increasing population, and cheap labour to work in the factories. An improving, inexpensive and easy method of transport to move the goods around the country is also a necessity. An affluent and growing middle class to buy all the mass-produced goods, a market driven economy and a political system that will allow all these to happen. England of the time had all these factors. Probably the most influential of all these factors were the many inventions, because without these inventions the factories wouldn't be able to produce goods in such numbers at the speed they did. The technological change '...was sudden and violent. The inventions were all made in a comparatively short space of time... In little more than 20yrs all the great inventions of Watt, Arkwright and Boulton had been completed... and the modern factory system had begun'1. The driving force behind the inventors and entrepreneurs was not necessarily to improve the economy of the country; their ingenuity was driven by the thought of great profits, however these efforts were allied with the risk of failure. ...read more.


The Newcomen pump was consequently used to pump out the water from these wells, so extraction could continue. The difficulties with mining coal, was its weight and transportation around the country. On the coast and inland estuary's this was no problem as the coal was transported by ship down the coast from the Tyne into London via the Thames. However, the transportation inland to the industrial areas was expensive and difficult. The only viable way coal could be transported into the industrial towns was by canal or railway, so there was a period of time were there was a great increase in the building of canals, railways and turnpikes. A lot of money was invested by landowners in the construction of these transporting methods, the first being the Duke of Bridgewater who invested in a canal. This particular canal started at his mines near Wolsley and finished in Manchester. Then many rich businessmen followed suit and invested in the specific method of transport that they would benefit from the most. Manufacturers of heavy goods financed the construction of canals merchants, innkeepers and landowners the turnpikes and the iron manufacturers financed the railways. Canals soon linked soon all the major rivers and by 1820, there was 4000 miles of canals. The improvement in all transporting systems and the introduction of third class travel on the railway gave the population opportunity to travel greater distances to find work. ...read more.


The only problem factories had (if high demand and high profit could be classed as a problem) were an ever-increasing demand for their products both domestically and overseas. This increased demand was due to the increase in surplus wages and the low cost of the goods. The low cost of domestically produced goods helped English companies overcome the transport barriers and tariffs, allowing them to infiltrate the lucrative European markets. England had an empire, which was constantly expanding, and after the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 complete control of all trade routes to the Americas, Africa and India. This meant it could export goods out of the country, import luxuries in and glean raw materials from the countries it controlled, such as cotton. With the empire, England also had a ready-made market to sell its mass-produced goods too. Britain's success through this period was likened to a chain, and the links being inventions, raw materials, population, supply and demand, capitalism and transport. If any of these did not exist then neither would the revolution, and if any of them failed then again the revolution would of come to a premature end. It has been suggested that a revolution never existed and the process of improvements had already begun years before, all but at a much slower pace. This may be the case, but what can not be denied is that the expansions in industry and the improvements in the countries economical standing, increased rapidly between 1750 and 1850. ...read more.

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