top of page

614-615 - Causes of Industrial Revolution

616-617 - Early Industry + Textiles

617-618 - Factories + Railways

618-619 - Spread of Industrialisation

619-621; 622 - Social Impact

621+623 - New Ways of thinking

652-655 - Second Industrial Revolution

655-657 - Working class politics

658-659 - Public Health Reform

660.       - New class structures

661-663 - Women in Society

664-665 - Education + Leisure

The industrial revolution

The Industrial Revolution is different from the two largely political revolutions just looked at.  This is a socio-economic revolution which changed the way we work, we make money, we see each other, and how we interact with the planet.  None of this was obvious to those pioneers and entrepreneurs who started to change traditional working habits in 18th century Great Britain however.  They had no idea their isolated experiments would change the face of the earth and the fortunes of modern Europe.  What were these  changes, who started them...and why?

ind rev.jpeg

Causes of the Industrial Revolution - SAFER

Using the introductory SAFER text, explore why the Industrial Revolution happened in Great Britain in the 1700s, and then consolidate that understanding using the digital text above, via the factory icon, and the video resources below using the attached Word document worksheets to help you make resources..

Serendipity or Luck - as with all major historical events, there is an                     element of luck about the emergence of industry in                         Great Britain with all the right factors in the same                             place at the same time as we will see below....

Agricultural - the building blocks of the IR were established not in Revolution     towns but in the countryside, where 1000s of years                          of tradition were rapidly replaced by new rules                                (Enclosure), methods (3 + 4 field crop rotation) and                          new technology (seed drills, ploughs)

Factories - the increase in food production and resulting rural                           exodus of population to towns in search of jobs                               allowed for the evolution of the factory system on an                       industrial scale. Once this system had proved itself                           successful in the Peak District countryside in Northern                     England, the next step was to to move these factories                     to where the labour now was. James Watt's smaller,                         more portable steam engine allowed factory owners to                   move away from fast flowing rivers in the middle of                         nowhere and instead of using water to power their                         machines, were then able to steam instead and so put                     their factories wherever they wanted.  The mass                               production age with huge workforces was now possible

Empire - however, without the British Empire all of this would have                          mattered for very little.  If there has been limited resources to                    use (cotton, malleable metals, hardwoods) with few markets to                    sell the products to (N America, India, E Asia)  then there would                  have been no reward for industrialising and so no revolution.  the                fact that Britain had an empire which could provide these                            resources and markets meant that the revolution once launched                  could continue and evolve and ultimately spread.....

Rising - fundamentally however, the outcome of all this success reinforced  Wages  the trend within Britain which had seen wages begin to steadily                   increase year on year.  What this did was to create a feedback       

             loop - with more wages having to be paid to more workers,

             industrialists had more incentive to invest in machines - with the

             success that machines brought, wages went up, and more

             industrialists sought to invest in machines...and so on.  This

             situation was encouraged by the cheap and available energy

             sources available in Britain from the plentiful coal seams lying on

             or near the surface, meaning that machines would always prove a

             cheaper option than a multiplying, highly paid manual workforce.


Effects of the Industrial Revolution 

unnamed (1).jpeg

The spread of industrialisation saw great change affect first of all the UK, then N. Europe, and finally areas further afield such as Russia and the USA.  These changes were both material in terms of affecting people's day to day lives and their standards of living, and intellectual in terms of inspiring new modes of thought and ideas about how we should organise this new society and its resources.

These two videos on the left and underneath illustrate these changes, whilst the icons at the bottom are links to the key thinkers of the Industrial Enlightenment.


Child Labour


Trade Unionism

lgKjN8UU_400x400rob owen.jpeg
Adam Smith           Jeremy Bentham            Robert Owen.               Karl Marx first 8 minutes of this video..

Crash Course Big History - The Modern revolution; The Anthropecene and Near Future

- "Why the Industrial Revolution started here" - BBC documentary on start of Ind Rev

- "Filthy Cities" BBC documentary on how the Industrial Revolution affected New York... - Industrial Revolution links






Open publication - Free publishing





Open publication - Free publishing





     Causes of the Industrial Revolution





Transport of the Industrial Revolution 





Effects of the Industrial Revolution





Changing ways of thinking






bottom of page