The Industrial Revolution in Britain

MatthewA By MatthewA, 1st Dec 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

The Industrial Revolution in Britain saw the rise of manufacturing industry. From the late 18th century to the 19th a number of exciting industrial advancements were made that saw Britain's manufacturing output rise steeply during the period.

The Industrial Revolution in Britain

Perhaps the most important advancement was that of the steam engine and steam locomotives. In the 18th century, Sir Tomas Newcomen developed the first steam engine, which was later modified and enhanced by James Watt. These steam engines relied on coal, which the UK had in some great measure.

As such, with these first steam engines, steam railways could be established. With this, the canal network was gradually replaced by faster rail. Steam trains could be used to transport the raw materials, and other goods invaluable for trade.

It was in the 19th century, that the first machine tools were also introduced in England. With such tools, industrial efficiency and output was further enhanced.

Britain also advocated free trade, with minimal trade tariffs. With their industrial advantages, Britain could export a great deal to the empire and then to Europe also. Economists such as Adam Smith noted the economic advantages of free trade.

As such, by the end of the Napoleonic Wars Britain was a clear industrial leader. Industry in cities such as London, Birmingham, and Manchester boomed. With France defeated, Britain's industry continued to expand in the 19th century. Britain was particularly proficient in textiles.

By 1850, Britain's industry outstripped the rest. As such, a Great Exhibition was held in London in 1851 as a celebration of UK industry. Visitors flocked to the exhibition, which had a range of exciting industrial tools and goods on show.

For the most part, the Industrial Revolution also polluted. The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, and other industrial manufacturing generated such pollution from the cities and beyond. Greener areas also became sites for industry and factories.

The Industrial Revolution also became the basis for Marx. Marx and Engels produced the book Das Kapital. As such, communist groups and parties began to emerge in Europe.

The rise of German industry after 1870 did give some competition to Britain. The Second Industrial Revolution involved a number of new industries and further industrial developments. Chemical and steel industries became more prevalent, as steam ships and then later auto mobiles were developed.

Overall, the Industrial Revolution in Britain ensured a clear industrial advantage for the UK. With it, there were many great industrial enhancements such as the steam engine, machine tools and then later steam boats. UK industry remained unmatched, until Germany's industry expanded in the latter 19th century.


Britain, Industrial Revolution, Steam Engine

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author avatar MatthewA
Matthew is the author of the book Battles of the Pacific War 1941 - 1945. You can find further details at

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