Why did economic change occur in Britain between 1780 and 1850?

Historians face significant problems in examining the industrial revolution.[1] First, there is the problem of what precisely the ‘industrial revolution’ was. Secondly, its national nature has been questioned. How far was there a British industrial revolution or was economic change essentially local or regional? Thirdly, there is the question of timing. When did the revolution begin? When did it end? Finally, historians increasingly recognise the diversity of economic experiences and the existence of both change and continuity of experience in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The ‘industrial revolution’ is increasingly seen as a metaphor for the changes that took place in the British economy between 1780 and 1850. While it would be perverse to refrain from using a term ‘hallowed by usage’, it is important to recognise that change occurred slowly in most industries and rapidly in a handful. Contemporaries were aware that they were living through a period of change. Robert Southey wrote in 1807

…no kingdom ever experienced so great a change in so short a course of years.[2]

Cotton, iron and coal expanded and the spread of steam power were important but undue emphasis on them neglects the broader economic experiences of Britain. Similarly, the question ‘Why did the industrial revolution take place in Britain rather than France or Germany?’ misses the crucial point that economic change did not occur in Britain as a whole. [3] Growth was regional and industrialisation took place in particular locations like Lancashire, the Central Lowlands of Scotland and South Wales and around Belfast. Explaining the industrial revolution is a very difficult undertaking since economic change had an effect, however small, on all aspects of society. Some circumstances that were present in Britain made change possible and, in that sense, can be said to be causal. Others held back progress but change occurred despite them. [4]

What was ‘economic growth’ in the late eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries and what were its major characteristics? The main indicator of long-term growth is the income the country receives from goods and services or gross domestic product. During the eighteenth century, GDP grew slightly from just under 1% per year to just over it. Between 1800 and 1850, growth remained at over 2% per year. Growth in GDP depends on three things: increases in labour, capital investment and productivity. Growing population accounted for the increase in labour after 1780 and grew at around 1% per year between 1780 and 1800 and 1.4% for the next fifty years. Increased capital investment was also evident after 1780. Between 1780 and 1800, capital investment rose by 1.2% per year. This rose slightly to 1.4% between 1800 and 1830 and, largely because of investment in railways to 2% between 1830 and 1850. Increasing productivity is more difficult to estimate. Statistical information is far from reliable leading to major discrepancies in modern estimates. For example, the production of coal in the late-eighteenth century is estimated to have grown annually at 0.64% or alternatively at 1.13%, twice that speed. The statistics also show only part of the picture and it is very difficult to extrapolate from specific data on specific industries to the economy as a whole. Total figures also blur the important differences between the experience of different industries and regions. It was not until the development of the railways after 1830 that the notion of a British economy, as opposed to localised or regional economies had real meaning. [5]

If it is possible to identify a single cause for the industrial revolution, then a strong case can be made for population increase. Between 1780 and 1850, the population of England and Wales increased from over 7 million to nearly 18 million. This led to mounting demand for goods like food and housing. Nevertheless, the increase in demand for other goods such as more manufactured goods or more efficient means of communication did not necessarily follow from population expansion. The problem is one of timing. When did population growth and economic growth occur and did they correspond? Although historians broadly accept that population grew from the mid-eighteenth century, they do not agree about the economic growth. If population growth stimulated demand, you would expect economic and population growth broadly to coincide. However, they did not. Accelerated economic growth began in the last quarter of the eighteenth century while the maximum rate of population growth on mainland Britain was not achieved until after 1810.

Population began to expand after 1750 and some historians argue that this provided the final ingredient necessary to trigger off industrialisation. Berg and Craft have shown that the origins of higher growth rates went back to the early decades of the century. In this scenario, population growth came after the beginnings of economic growth. [6] The impact of population growth causes problems for historians who argue for economic growth from the 1780s and those who see growth as something that began earlier in the century. It had favourable effects on economic growth in three important respects. First, population growth provided Britain with an abundant and cheap supply of labour.[7] It stimulated investment in industry and agriculture by its effects on increased demand for goods and services. Finally, urbanisation made it profitable to create or improve services. For example, the building of the canal from the Bridgewater coalmines at Worsley to Manchester in the early 1760s took advantage of growing demand for domestic coal that made canal investment cost-effective. The role of population growth in the origins of Britain’s industrial revolution was far from straightforward.

Britain was a relatively wealthy country in the mid-eighteenth century with a well-established system of banking.[8] This enabled people to build up savings and provided them with capital to invest.[9] Between 1750 and 1770, there was growing investment in roads, canals, and buildings and in enclosing land.[10] This process was sustained after 1780 through to the 1850s with continued investment in transport and enclosure and in the expansion of the textile and iron industries, and after 1830 by the development of railways. The annual rate of domestic investment rose from about £13 million in the 1780s to over £40 million by the 1830s. The ratio of gross investment to the gross national product rose from 6% in the 1770s to 12% by the 1790s and it remained at this level until 1850. Widespread capital investment was largely confined to a small, though important part of the economy rising in farming, communications and textiles, especially cotton and in iron and steel. Other areas of the economy were often undercapitalised relative to these industries.

Capital investment in farming was largely on enclosures, drainage and buildings.[11] Landowners ploughed back about 6% of their total income into the land. This rose to about 16% during the French wars when high wheat prices encouraged investment in enclosure. This fell back after 1815 with the onset of depression and did not revive until the 1840s. In the 1780s, a third of all investment was in farming but by 1850, this had fallen to an eighth. By contrast, there was a rapid growth of investment in industry and communications. Annual investment in industry and trade rose from £2 million in the 1780s to £17 million by 1850. Between 1780 and 1830, there was an annual investment of £1.5 million on canals and roads and for the improvement of docks and harbours. These figures were dwarfed by investment in railways that peaked at £15 million per year in the 1840s, some 28% of all investment. The increase in the availability of investment capital allowed economic growth to occur.

Britain was already a well-established trading nation.[12] Colonies were important sources of raw materials as well as markets for manufactured goods.  London was a major centre for the re-export trade. The slave trade played a major role in the development of Liverpool and Bristol and its profits provided an important source of capital for early industrialisation.[13] By the 1780s, the export trade was expanding annually by 2.6%. Cotton production depended on international trade and was responsible for half the increase in the value of exports between 1780 and 1830.[14] Cotton accounted for just over half Britain’s exports by 1830 and three-quarters of all exports were associated with textiles. This represented a narrow trading base and helps to explain why the British economy underwent depression in the 1830s and early 1840s. British factories were over-producing for European and global markets already saturated with textile goods. The result was some changes in the nature of exports with iron growing from 6% in the 1810s to 20% by 1850 and the growing importance of coal.

In the 1780s, Europe was a major market for British goods and this remained the case in 1850. However, there were important changes in the destination of British goods. The United States increasingly became a focus for exports of manufactured goods and for importing raw cotton.[15] This process was helped by the opening up of the Latin American markets in the early nineteenth century.[16] India was a huge market for cotton goods. Similar possibilities existed in the Middle East and South America. Britain increasingly shifted trade towards less developed economies that provided growing imports of tropical products to Britain and other industrialised countries like Germany and France. Overseas trade has been highlighted by some historians as a primary cause of economic growth. The growth of export industries at a faster rate than other industries was closely linked to foreign trade.[17]

To what extent was the growth in trade between 1780 and 1850 central to Britain’s economic development? It stimulated a domestic demand for the products of British industry. For example, in 1767, 16,000 sheep and 14,000 cattle passed through the Birdlip Hill Turnpike in Gloucester en route from south Wales to London. The coastal traffic of coal into London from the north-east rose from one million to three million tons per year between 1720 and 1790.[18] International trade gave access to raw materials that both widened the range and cheapened the products of British industries. It provided purchasing power for countries to buy British goods since trade is a two-way process. Profits from trade were used to finance industrial expansion and agricultural improvement. It was a major cause of the growth of large towns and industrial centres. The role of British trade must, however, be put into perspective. Changes in the pattern of British trade between 1780 and 1850 such as the export or re-export of manufactured goods in return for imports of foodstuffs and raw materials were relatively small and industrial developments from the 1780s consolidated already existing trends. Exports may have helped textiles and iron to expand but they made little impact on the unmodernised, traditional manufacturing sectors.

By 1750, Britain was already a highly mobile society. Travel may have been slow and, on occasions dangerous but it was not uncommon. Within a hundred years, the British landscape was scarred by canals and railways and traversed by improved roads and the movement of goods and people quickened dramatically. Turnpike roads and the emergence of a sophisticated coaching industry, canals with their barges carrying raw materials and the manufactured goods of the industrial revolution, new harbours and the railways were symbolic of ‘progress’ as much as factories and enclosed fields.

From the 1550s, the parish had responsibility for maintaining roads. This may have been adequate for dealing with local roads but the major or trunk roads were not maintained very well. Local people thought that the people who used these roads should pay for their upkeep. The result was the development of turnpike roads, financed by private turnpike trusts, which people were charged a toll to use. Britain’s road system in the mid-eighteenth century was extensive but under-funded. Just over £1 million was spent annually. This was, however, insufficient to maintain the road system necessary to growing trade and manufactures. Turnpike roads, the first established in 1663, grew slowly in the first half of the eighteenth century.  About eight new trusts were established each year. From the 1750s, this went up to about forty a year and from the 1790s, to nearly sixty. By the mid-1830s, there were 1,116 turnpike trusts in England and Wales managing slightly more than a sixth of all roads, some 22,000 miles. Parallel to this organisational development, there were improvements in the quality of road building associated particularly with Thomas Telford and John Loudon Macadam.[19]

What contribution did turnpike and parish roads make to improved communication in Britain between 1780 and 1850? Spending on parish roads did not increase markedly though there was a significant growth in spending by turnpike trusts. This reached a peak of £1.5 million per year in the 1820s. The problem was that improvements to the road system were patchy and dependent on private initiatives. Despite this, there were significant reductions in journey times between the main centres of population. In the 1780s, it took ten days to travel from London to Edinburgh; by the 1830s, 45 hours. This led to a dramatic increase in the number of passengers carried by a rapidly expanding coaching industry. The road system transported all kinds of industrial material and manufactured goods. There was a significant growth of carrier firms after 1780. In London, for example, there were 353 firms in 1790 but 735 in the mid-1820s and a five-fold increase in the number of carriers in Birmingham between 1790 and 1830. These firms were, however, unable to compete with the canals or the railways and concentrated on providing short distance carriage of goods from canals and railway stations to local communities. The major problem facing early industrialists was the cost of carrying heavy, bulky goods like coal or iron ore. The solution was to use water, rivers, coastal transport and from the 1760s, canals.[20]

The first phase of canal development took place in the 1760s and early 1770s beginning with the construction of the Bridgewater canal. The second phase, in the 1790s, has rightly been called ‘canal mania’ with the completion of several important canals and the setting-up of fifty-one new schemes. By 1820, the canal network was largely completed linking all the major centres of industrial production and population. Canals dramatically enhanced the efficiency of the whole economy by making a cheap system of transport available for goods and passengers. The price of raw materials like coal, timber, iron, wood and cotton tumbled. The needs of farming, whether for manure or for access to markets for grain, cheese and butter, were easily satisfied where farmers had access to canals. Canals were a means of overcoming the fuel crisis that threatened to limit industrial growth by making cheap, abundant coal supplies available.[21] The building of canals also created massive employment and spending power at a time when growing industries were looking for mass markets. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of canals to Britain’s industrial development between 1780 and 1830.[22]

From 1830, railways were the epoch-making transport innovation. Between 1830 and 1850, 7,000 miles of track was laid with railway ‘manias’ in the 1830s and between 1844 and 1847 when investment was at its peak. Their economic importance lay in their ability to move both people and goods quickly that no other single mode of transport had previously been able. They offered lower costs and greater speed attracting passengers, mail and high-value goods. Mail went to new railways in six months and coaches running in direct competition lost out. Canals were able, by cutting their rates and improving their services, to continue to carry goods for several years. In 1840, the volume of traffic carried by canal from Liverpool to Manchester was more than twice that carried by railway.

The decline of the coaching industry was, however, rapid. In 1824, about fifty coaches went through Dunstable in Bedfordshire. Pigot’s Directory, 1839 clearly shows the effects of the opening of the London-Birmingham railway the previous year. The number of coaches was greatly reduced and only twelve coaches a day passed though in early 1838. Local carriers fared better and the directory noted that Deacon’s conveyances from The King’s Arms went to and from Leighton Buzzard to meet the trains from London and Birmingham. Dunstable suffered greatly during 1838-1839 from the decline of the coaching industry and the more general slump in the economy. Twenty years later, Charles Lambourn noted that

…the people were panic-struck and dismay was visible on every countenance, the hope of their gains was pain…it was a fearful time…[23]

This was later supported by William Derbyshire

A period of great depression ensued, upon the extinction of the traffic of the road, which continued for some years; but after awhile, the business men of the town, directed their whole attention to the extension and development of the Straw trade, which had existed in Dunstable for more than 200 years, although it had hitherto been carried on to a very limited extent…[24]

His view of the effects of dramatic end of road traffic may well be based on the experiences of his own family but evidence from both Pigot’s Directory and the 1841 census suggest the slump was short-lived.

The Victorians had no hesitation in assuming a direct link between railways and economic growth though historians are today far less convinced. There was increased demand for coal and iron. In the 1840s, 30% of brick production went into railways and between 1830 and 1845, some 740 million bricks were used in railway construction. Towns grew up round established engineering centres at Swindon, Crewe, Rugby and Doncaster. Food could be transported more cheaply and arrive fresher. There is, however, no doubting their social and cultural impact of railways. 64,000 passengers were carried in 1843 rising to 174,000 by 1848 with an increase in the third-class element from 19,000 to 86,000 in the same period. The Great Exhibition of 1851 reinforced this increased mobility of population.[25]

Between 1780 and 1850, great output was achieved by the transport industry, as in manufacturing industry, by applying a rapidly increasing labour force to existing modes of production as well as using new techniques and applying steam-driven machinery. Historians have emphasised the importance of canals and railways that respectively in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in reducing transport costs. However, coastal and river traffic and carriage of goods and people by road remained important and the horse was the main means of transport well beyond 1850.

British society in the eighteenth and nineteenth century was profoundly conservative. How was a society with highly traditional structures able to generate changes in so many areas of economic life? First, by 1780, British society was capitalist in character and organisation. Its aristocracy was remarkably ‘open’, allowing the newly rich and talented to ‘climb’. The most successful merchants, professional and businessmen in each generation were funnelled off into landed society. Success brought wealth and the ultimate proof of success in business was the ability to leave it. In France, where social mobility was discouraged there was political and social discontent and ultimately political revolution. In Britain, where social climbing was not obstructed, there was an industrial revolution.[26]

Secondly, Britain was already a highly market-oriented society.[27] Imports, whether smuggled or not, were quickly moved to market. There were 800 market towns in England and Wales in the 1780s reflecting the intensity of production and the ability of particular areas to specialise in particular products. Domestic goods, both agricultural and manufactured, were bought and sold directly at the network of markets or through middlemen, who acted as a channel between producer and consumer. Until 1830, the key to economic growth was the growing home demand for consumer goods. Growing consumption influenced trade and economic growth. Possessing and using domestic goods enhanced social status or displayed social rank.  Lower food prices after 1780 may well have stimulated a consumer boom: people had more disposable income. There was a dramatic increase in the number of permanent shops in major urban centres and many of the characteristics of modern advertising emerged with circulars, showrooms and elaborate window displays.[28] Changing patterns of consumption created an environment in which manufacturers could exploit known and growing demand.[29]

Finally, entrepreneurial skill and ‘enterprise’ played a major role in the development of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century economy.[30] An ideology approving of bourgeois innovation was crucial and new and its development was a consequence of the social and intellectual foundations established by the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, what Mokyr calls the Industrial Enlightenment, Jack Goldstone the Engineering Culture[31] and Deirdre McCloskey, the Bourgeois Revaluation.[32] Entrepreneurs were responsible for three things. They organised production and brought together capital (their own or others’) and labour. They selected the geographical site for operations, the technologies to be used, bargained for raw materials and found markets for their products. They often combined the roles of financiers, capitalists, work managers, merchants and salesmen. Three main explanations for the place of entrepreneurs in leading economic change have been identified by historians. First, there was a gradual though incomplete change in the ways people viewed social status from one where it was the result of birth to one where it related to what individuals achieved. Status was based more on what you did, less on who you were. This was a reflection of the openness and mobility of British society. [33] Secondly, Nonconformity seems to have been a crucial experience for many of the first-generation entrepreneurs encouraging a set of values outwardly favourable to economic enterprise. Finally, entrepreneurs were able effectively to exploit advances in technology and industrial organisation. Most entrepreneurs were not pioneers of major innovations or inventions but realised how best to utilise them. James Watt would not have been successful but for the entrepreneurial skills of Matthew Boulton. This allowed them to manufacture and market goods effectively within a highly competitive consumer society. Entrepreneurial success was based on such successful transactions, not necessarily on a multi-talented genius who could do it all. British society did not prevent entrepreneurs from using their talents and motivation.[34]

There was no blueprint for the ‘industrial revolution’. Population growth stimulated demand that entrepreneurs were able to satisfy. Developments in transport led to reductions in the cost of production making manufactured goods cheaper. Investment in industry often brought good returns. The state made little attempt to control growth. Foreign trade brought raw materials and profits that could be invested in enterprise. The social structure was adaptable and relatively flexible. Each of these factors helped create an environment in which change could occur.

[1] On the debate on the nature of the ‘industrial revolution’, Fores, Michael, ‘The Myth of a British Industrial Revolution’, History, Vol. 66, (1981), pp. 181-198, and a vigorous response Musson, A.E., ‘The British Industrial Revolution, History, Vol. 69, (1982), pp. 252-258, can be supplemented with ibid, More, Charles, Understanding the Industrial Revolution, pp. 9-28, 158-173, ibid, King, Steven and Timmins, Geoffrey, Making sense of the Industrial Revolution: English economy and society 1700-1850, pp. 10-66.

[2] Southey, Robert, Letters from England, (Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme), 1808, p. 73.

[3] Crafts, N.F.R., ‘Industrial Revolution in England and France: Some Thoughts on the Question ‘Why was England First?’’ and comment by Rostow, W.W., Economic History Review, Vol. 30, (1977), pp. 429-441 and ‘Economic Growth in France and Britain, 1830-1910: A Review of the Evidence’, Journal of Economic History, Vol. 54, (1984), pp. 49-67.

[4] Wrigley, E.A., Continuity, chance and change: the character of the industrial revolution in England, (Cambridge University Press), 1988 and ibid, Crafts, N.F.R., British economic growth during the industrial revolution, provide an excellent summary of the problems of studying the ‘industrial revolution’.

[5] On the problems of measuring growth see, Berg, M. and Hudson, P., ‘Rehabilitating the industrial revolution’, Economic History Review, Vol. 45, (1992), pp. 24-50, Crafts, N.F.R., ‘British economic growth 1700-1831: a review of the evidence’, Economic History Review, Vol. 36, (1983), pp. 177-199, Crafts, N.F.R. and Harley, C.K., ‘Output growth and the British industrial revolution: a restatement of the Crafts-Harley view’, Economic History Review, Vol. 45, (1992), pp. 703-730, Harley, C.K., ‘British industrialization before 1841: evidence of slower growth during the industrial revolution’, Journal of Economic History, Vol. 42, (1982), Heim, C. and Mirowski, P., ‘Interest rates and crowding out during Britain’s industrial revolution’, Journal of Economic History, Vol. 57, (1987), pp. 117-139, Hoppit, J., ‘Counting the industrial revolution’, Economic History Review, Vol. 43, (1990), pp. 173-193, Jackson, R.V., ‘Rates of industrial growth during the industrial revolution’, Economic History Review, Vol. 45, (1992), pp. 1-23, Mokyr, J., ‘Has the industrial revolution been crowded out? Some reflections on Crafts and Williamson’, Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 24, (1987), pp. 293-318, and Williamson, J. G., ‘Why was British growth so slow during the industrial revolution?’, Journal of Economic History, Vol. 44, (1984), pp. 687-712 and Crafts, N.F.R., ‘Productivity Growth in the Industrial Revolution: A New Growth Accounting Perspective’, Journal of Economic History, Vol. 64, (2004), pp. 521-535

[6] Berg, Maxine, The age of manufactures: industry, innovation and work in Britain 1700-1820, (Basil Blackwell), 1985, 2nd ed., (Routledge), 1994, Berg, Maxine and Hudson, Pat, ‘Growth and change: a comment on the Crafts-Harley view of the industrial revolution’, Economic History Review, 2nd ser., Vol. 47, (1994), pp. 147-149.

[7] Tranter, Neil L., ‘Population, migration and labour supply’, in Aldcroft, Derek H. and Ville, Simon P., (ed.), The European economy, 1750-1914: a thematic approach (Manchester University Press), 1994, pp. 37-71 provides a long-term perspective.

[8] Collins, M., Banks and Industrial Finance in Britain 1800-1939, (Cambridge University Press), 1995, pp. 14-24 provides a succinct discussion of developments to 1870. Crouzet, F., (ed.), Capital Formation and the Industrial Revolution, (Methuen), 1967 contains valuable papers. See also, Capie, Forrest Hunter, ‘Money and economic development in eighteenth-century England’, in ibid, Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, (ed.), Exceptionalism and industrialisation: Britain and its European rivals, 1688-1815, pp. 216-32.

[9] Finn, M., The character of credit: personal debt in English culture 1740-1914, (Cambridge University Press), 2003.

[10] Ginarlis, J. and Pollard, Sidney, ‘Roads and Waterways 1750-1850’, in ibid, Feinstein, C. H. and Pollard, Sidney, (eds.), Studies in capital formation in the United Kingdom, 1750-1920, pp. 182-224.

[11] Holderness, B. A., ‘Agriculture 1770-1860’, in ibid, Feinstein, C. H. and Pollard, Sidney, (eds.), Studies in capital formation in the United Kingdom, 1750-1920, pp. 9-34

[12] Mathias, Peter and Davis, John Anthony, (eds.), International trade and British economic growth: from the eighteenth century to the present day (Blackwell Publishers), 1996 contains valuable papers. Crouzet, François, ‘Britain’s Exports and Their Markets, 1701-1913’, in Emmer, Pieter C., Pétré-Grenouilleau, Olivier and Roitman, Jessica V., (eds.), A deus ex machina revisited: Atlantic colonial trade and European economic development (Brill), 2006 provides a longer-term perspective.

[13] Morgan, Kenneth, Slavery and the British Empire: From Africa to America, (Oxford University Press), 2007 and Slavery, Atlantic Trade and the British Economy 1699-1800, (Cambridge University Press), 2000 provide a good synopsis of current thinking.

[14] Edwards, M.M., The growth of the British cotton trade, 1780-1815, (Manchester University Press), 1967.

[15] Nash, R. C., ‘The organization of trade and finance in the British-Atlantic economy, 1600-1830’, in Coclanis, Peter A., (ed.), The Atlantic economy during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: organization, operation, practice, and personnel, (University of South Carolina Press), 2005, pp. 95-151.

[16] Platt, D.C., Latin America and British Trade, 1806-1914, (Oxford University Press), 1972

[17] For the development of shipping see, Davies, R., The Rise of the English Shipping Industry, (Macmillan), 1962 and Hope, R.A., A New History of British Shipping, (John Murray), 1990.

[18] Clark, Gregory and Jacks, David, ‘Coal and the Industrial Revolution, 1700-1869’, European Review of Economic History, Vol. 11, (1), (2007), pp. 39-72 and Hausman, William J., ‘The English coastal coal trade, 1691-1910: how rapid was productivity growth?’, Economic History Review, 2nd ser., Vol. 40, (1987), pp. 588-602 and ‘A model of the London coal trade in the 18th century’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 94, (1980), pp. 1-14.

[19] Albert, W., The turnpike road system in England, 1663-1840, (Cambridge University Press), 1972 and Pawson, E., Transport and economy: the turnpike roads of 18th-century Britain, (Academic Press), 1977.

[20] Ward, J.R., The finance of canal building in 18th-century England, (Oxford University Press), 1974.

[21] See also the role of coastal traffic, Ville, S., ‘Total factor productivity in the English shipping industry: the north-east coal trade, 1700-1850’, Economic History Review, Vol. 39, (1986), pp. 355-370 and ‘Shipping in the port of Sunderland, 1815-1845’, Business History, Vol. 32, (1990), pp. 32-51.

[22] Turnbull, G., ‘Canals, coal and regional growth during the industrial revolution’, Economic History Review, Vol. 40, (1987), pp. 537-560.

[23] Lambourn, Charles, The Dunstapalogia, (James Tibbet,) 1859, p. 208

[24] Derbyshire, W. H., The History of Dunstable, 2nd ed., (Tibbet), 1882, p. 97.

[25] Auerbach, Jeffrey A., The Great Exhibition of 1851: a nation on display, (Yale University Press), 1999 and ‘The Great Exhibition and historical memory’, Journal of Victorian Culture, Vol. 6, (1), (2001), pp. 89-112.

[26] Laqueur, Thomas W., ‘Literacy and Social Mobility in the Industrial Revolution in England’, Past & Present, Vol. 64, (1974), pp. 96-107 and Sanderson, Michael, ‘Literacy and Social Mobility in the Industrial Revolution in England: A Rejoinder’, Past & Present, Vol. 64, (1974), pp. 108-112.

[27] Hatton , T.J. et al., ‘18th-century British trade: homespun or empire made?’, Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 20, (1983), pp. McKendrick, N., ‘Home demand and economic growth: a new view of the role of women and children in the Industrial Revolution’, in McKendrick, N., (ed.), Historical perspectives: studies in English thought and society in honour of J.H. Plumb, (Cambridge University Press), 1974, pp. 152-210 and Mokyr, J., ‘Demand versus supply in the industrial revolution’, Journal of Economic History, Vol. 37, (1977), pp. 981-1008.

[28] Berg, Maxine and Clifford, Helen, ‘Selling Consumption in the Eighteenth Century: Advertising and the Trade Card in Britain and France’, Cultural and Social History, Vol. 4, (2007), pp. 145-170.

[29] Weatherill, Lorna, Consumer behaviour and material culture in Britain, 1660-1760, 3rd ed., (Routledge), 1997, Wagner, Tamara S. and Hassan, Narin, (eds.), Consuming culture in the long nineteenth century: narratives of consumption, 1700-1900, (Lexington Books), 2007.

[30] Burns, T. and Saul, S.B., (eds.), Social Theory and Economic Change, (Tavistock Press), 1967 is a useful collection of papers, providing useful summaries of Hagen E.H., On the Theory of Social Change, (Dorsey Press), 1962 and McClelland, D., The Achieving Society, (Van Nostrand), 1961. The debate on capitalism is best approached through Holton R.J., The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism, (Macmillan), 1985 and Marshall, G., In Search of the Spirit of Capitalism: an essay on Max Weber’s Protestant ethic thesis, (Hutchinson), 1982. Payne, P.L., British Entrepreneurship in the Nineteenth Century, (Macmillan),   1974, 2nd edition, 1988 is a good bibliographical essay. Campbell, R.H. and Wilson, R.G., (eds.), Entrepreneurship in Britain 1750-1939, (A & C Black), 1975 is a short collection of contemporary writings with  an extremely useful introductory essay

[31] Goldstone, Jack A., Why Europe? The Rise of the West in World History 1500-1850, (McGraw-Hill), 2008 and ‘Engineering Culture, Innovation and Modern Wealth Creation’, in C. Karlsson, C., Johansson, B. and Stough R.R., (eds.), Entrepreneurship and Innovations in Functional Regions, (Edward Elgar), 2008, pp. 23-49.

[32] McCloskey, Deirdre N., The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics form an Age of Commerce, (University of Chicago Press), 2006, the first of six volumes. See http://www.deirdremccloskey.com/index.php for drafts of forthcoming work.

[33] Miles, Andrew, ‘How open was nineteenth-century British society?: social mobility and equality of opportunity, 1839-1914’, in Miles, Andrew and Vincent, David, (eds.), Building European society: occupational change and social mobility in Europe, 1840-1940, (Manchester University Press), 1993, pp. 18-39.

[34] Daunton, Martin J., ‘The entrepreneurial state, 1700-1914’, History Today, Vol. 44, (6), (1994), pp. 11-16.

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