Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/ http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/ en-gb 30 Tue 28 Apr 2015 01:26:59 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/ joanne_p http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=99#comment239 I found this a more unenlightening programme than usual. Perhaps for someone who knows a lot about the topic already a heated debate on some of the finer points is interesting. However, for me this got bogged down in just a few issues.Prof. Hudson seemed to react strongly to a question that I don't believe was asked and it all got more unpleasant to listen to after that. Someone belabouring their agenda and hardly letting anyone else speak, and the interviewer talking over them doesn't make for great radio. Some of the comments seem a little hysterical, though. It didn't sound as though she was being bullied. Just that she had a bee in her bonnet and then Melvyn got annoyed and the programme didn't get very far.I'm sure it's a very interesting subject with a lot of contributory factors. Unfortunately, those didn't come across in the programme. Mon 23 May 2011 19:52:37 GMT+1 Eliza http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=99#comment238 This post has been Removed Sat 19 Feb 2011 01:58:47 GMT+1 Ralf Ilchef http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=98#comment237 Also, why is there only a "Complain about this comment" option? Very English. Why can't we agree or applaud? Mon 07 Feb 2011 11:30:55 GMT+1 Ralf Ilchef http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=98#comment236 Sorry about the late post but I've just listened to the podcast here in Oz. I've never heard you get so cross with a guest Melvyn. Don't you dare blackban Pat Hudson, I thought she was fantastic and incredibly articulate, and should be your guest of first choice for any topic in her remit! Mon 07 Feb 2011 11:28:58 GMT+1 Spun http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=97#comment235 I thought this edition was poorly chaired I'm afraid. Whatever the merits or otherwise of the guests opinions the chair is there to make sure we hear a debate covering a range of topics and view points and not to impose his own views over those of the guests. Melvin should have just moved the debate on - but he couldnt leave it alone. For the sake of openess I tend to think his view overplayed the iumportance of British inventiveness - smells like technological determinism to me. Further reading that I'm surprised is not here is Hobsbawm's The Age of Revolution. I can also reccomend the first David Harvey lecture on Chapter 15 of Capital - its available for free on the web. Finally its funny no-one mentioned the political revolution that Britain had already undergone - but perhaps if we had spent less time on invetiveness or otherwise we would have got to it. Sun 06 Feb 2011 14:44:03 GMT+1 SteveB http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=97#comment234 Its fine for Pat Hudson to have a different view - Thats what debate is all about - But she wanted to dominate the discussion and not allow any other view. People on this list accuse Melvyn of this but I would ask them to think "Who would host a more balanced program ?" This has been characterised as a battle between Melvyn and Pat where actually he was making sure the other speakers got to put their view - Pat did not !. It doesnt take long before labels start getting bandied about such as Misogynist and Racist, these are people in my opinion who are hiding from the actual debate - Just lazy thinking. Thu 27 Jan 2011 09:54:15 GMT+1 SteveB http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=97#comment233 This post has been Removed Thu 27 Jan 2011 09:32:58 GMT+1 Rojyaaemon http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=96#comment232 That was an unpleasant listen, so I stopped it and put it away for a month. Later I listened again to understand how it went so badly. All was normal and well for the first 14 minutes. Each of the three guests had made contibutions. Then Melvyn asked for three main causes of the IR, "BRIEFLY". Instead of simply offering her top three and giving the other guests a chance to give theirs, Pat Hudson threw a bomb on the table and hijacked the discussion. It should be obvious to these highly educated guests that they get only about 12 minutes per person to answer the questions put to them and to respond to comments made by others on the panel. So why couldn't she just answer the bloody question and then let the other two guests add their top three and see if they were in agreement? It was as if asked, "Who are your three favorite hairdressers?" someone would answer by saying, "Well, the one who does your hair certainly isn't one of them."And the bomb was thrown with what seemed to be, well, glee. Up to that point her comments were slow paced and laced with "uh" and "um." But the bomb was delivered like a practiced line from her favorite presentation. She had been given an opening to push her agenda and she was taking it for all it's worth.My quick summary of her sloppy thinking: Europe was equally effected by Baconian and Newtonian (both Brits!) science. Yes, the IR occurred in Britain. But there's obviously nothing special about British scientists and inventors. They had coal, that's all.Right. And the reason football flourished in England was simply because of all the great lovely lawns which were available. Now excuse me, please. I am developing some free iPhone Apps, just for the fun of it. Mon 24 Jan 2011 13:28:50 GMT+1 donovan950 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=96#comment231 This post has been Removed Mon 24 Jan 2011 13:02:01 GMT+1 SMSH http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=95#comment230 I found this podcast almost unlistenable thanks to Mr. Bragg's poor hosting. Of course Ms. Hudson knows that human beings had to invent things, but why certain ones over others is the interesting question. And yes, it does suggest a certain underlying lack of racial understanding to chalk it up to "our" British inventiveness. Instead, the more subtle and interesting questions are those of why history worked out the way it did, not just celebrating great men. Next time the guest must be allowed to talk. If she's wrong, the other guests will certainly push her to clarify her points--we don't need Mr. Bragg butting in so rudely.I will try this programme again, but it was terribly disappointing and I hope not a sign of things to come. Sun 23 Jan 2011 03:49:33 GMT+1 margaretcraven http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=95#comment229 This post has been Removed Fri 21 Jan 2011 17:57:31 GMT+1 Curt Nelson http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=95#comment228 This post has been Removed Wed 19 Jan 2011 22:32:17 GMT+1 neuromunger http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=94#comment227 This post has been Removed Mon 10 Jan 2011 23:02:56 GMT+1 notonmelvyn http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=94#comment226 This post has been Removed Mon 10 Jan 2011 22:11:37 GMT+1 Themistocles http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=93#comment225 I downloaded the podcast to listen it in peace on my way to Liverpool yesterday as the subject is very familiar and enjoyable, and I almost crashed. The number of responses seems to have no end. Bypassing the emotional exchanges, the ideological basis of the argument of Professor Pat Hudson, which she almost shouted several times, was that these scientific discoveries occur because there is a market for them, hence the cultural imaginary background is of secondary importance. This is totally wrong. I don't think that anybody will read this, but just in case these are some examples: The first steam engine was not created by Newcomen. The first to cross the line was the Greek mathematician Hero of Alexandria in the first century AD. The invention had no market whatsoever but it was beautiful to watch. For a century, it was an exhibit at the Alexandrian Library. Therefore, it is on record that when the first engine was discovered no one knew what to do with it. The same is true for the first rockets or flying objects invented in the Hellenistic years in Sicily without any practical application. Sometimes intellectual endeavour has its own logic, which evolves with no regard whatsoever for the state of the society at large. Consider the Roman law. It reached its peak under the Justinian Code in the 6th century, at the same time as the aforementioned emperor was occupying himself with cultural genocide against the Hellenistic culture, outlawing mathematics and turning the Eastern Roman Empire into chaos. Yet within one of the darkest pages of human history, with no demand from society -quite the opposite- we have the Justinian Code. The panel was wrong to look for the one factor that existed in Britain and led to the Industrial Revolution that could not exist anywhere else. Most often, the answers are shared with other countries and the interest is in the details, no big statement no big headline. As for the importance of the steam engine, could anyone imagine that we could talk about the Industrial Revolution without it, even if it did not cause it directly? Very rarely, if at all, we have necessary and at the same time sufficient conditions in history. Fri 07 Jan 2011 14:37:48 GMT+1 James http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=93#comment224 I've only just heard this programme (thanks, iPlayer). The people who have attacked Melvyn's treatment of Prof Pat Hudson should perhaps reflect that her reaction to Melvyn presenting (perfectly politely) a counter-argument to her simplistic economic determinism was to accuse him of racism. I was shocked by her attempt to use a vicous personal attack to silence a opposing point of view.The antagonism generated by Prof Hudson's personal remarks obscured an interesting synthesis of the opposing viewpoints, which one of the other guests (sorry, I didn't gather which) was trying to make. It's true that the industrial revolution couldn't have happened without the right economic conditions, which were present in Britain around 1750. But it's also true that this allowed entrepreneurs in Britian to take greater advantage of new discoveries in science and engineering than their competitors in other countries could.Not the most illuminating episode of IOT but one which showed how important it is to base arguments on facts, not ideology. Fri 07 Jan 2011 00:53:31 GMT+1 Crail12 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=92#comment223 Yesterday evening my wife and I listened to this programme, finally, and were astonished at Melvyn's behaviour. We've listened to a large proportion of the IOTs available online, and although he occasionally comes across as gruff and over-opinionated, his rudeness towards Pat Hudson was a masterclass in how not to chair a programme on Radio 4. Indeed, it was almost akin to a parody of shock-jock broadcasting. What we look forward to is being treated to new (to us) subject matter and viewpoints articulated by knowledgeable people. Melvyn seemed to sabotage his own programme by trying to impose his own point of view, and in a bullying fashion.This was a puzzling to us, and a great shame. It will not stop us from continuing to listen to IOT, however. Wed 05 Jan 2011 14:19:19 GMT+1 LV http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=92#comment222 Test to see if there is an issue with comments Tue 04 Jan 2011 12:16:42 GMT+1 Judith Rodrigues http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=92#comment221 This post has been Removed Mon 03 Jan 2011 22:18:00 GMT+1 knownaught http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=91#comment220 I have listened to your programmes regularly for many years. Being Science trained and interested in History I was looking forward to this programme. But the persistent rude interruption and arguing, most noticeably by the Prof. Hudson, made me so uptight and angry, that, for the first time ever, I switched off. In the unlikely event that she is invited back I will not be tuning in. I trust this comment passes your House Rules. Mon 03 Jan 2011 15:30:25 GMT+1 Peter Bettess http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=91#comment219 As an engineer myself, who greatly admires the achievements of the engineers of the Industrial Revolution I find it quite upsetting to hear them described as ‘tinkerers’ and their inventions as ‘gadgets’. We would not describe the Elizabethan dramatists as ‘scribblers’ or the French impressionists as ‘daubers’. Whether or not you think that the IR would have happened without these engineers I do not see that such sneering language from Professor Hudson adds anything to the debate. Mon 03 Jan 2011 13:48:18 GMT+1 An_Inspector_Calls http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=90#comment218 Are the supporters of Pat Hudson talking about the programme in which she spoke for 38 % of the time? Subtract the first 10 minutes in which MB questioned JB and WA, and she steamrollered 48 % of the time - one occasion for over 3 minutes - and interrupted both JB and MB on several occasions. JB managed a whole 10 % of the converstaion while PH trundled! And just when was MB jingositic?And then PH:"We must get away from the idea that this was caused by a wave of gadgets [sic] or by the perculiar inventiveness of British science, scientists or inventors". Since no one on the panel had made any claim about Britain, who was/were the jingoist(s) she was referring to - she never said.Her first attempt to make her case is that we only have to look at the resource availability and geopolitical position of Britain to eliminate the role of any inventions, but this was ably countered (with PH interruptions) by JB and then MB (again interrupted by PH). And these aspects had already been competently identified as mere pre-conditions for the IR. PH destroys her own point by mentioning the inventions of Hargreaves, Arkwright, Crompton and Rev Cartwright in just the process of weaving!And PH has little grasp of engineering - what she describes pejoratively as 'tinkering' I would describe as the highly skilled and responsible process of 'engineering development'.She tries to claim that most of the inventions and pioneering work was carried out not in Britain, but one of the (four) examples she gives of this is in steam engines. I can find no evidence of any pioneering work other than that of Savery and Newcomen - they built the only engines that actually ever pumped water prior to 1720. Papin and Huygens had contemporary ideas (post Somerset), but never pioneered an engine.But finally, just consider this polished diamond:"The steam engine wasn't made fully workable and efficient into well into the 19C; the 500 or so steam engines sold by Boulton and Watt had an average horsepower of 14"! I'm an engineer, and that claim is meaningless to me. Firstly, efficiency and rated power are not similar parameters, and are only weakly related to each other, and secondly, she almost certainly does not understand that even a 14 hp steam engine would be capable of delivering enormous quantities or torque. If Boulton and Watt's progress was so small, how come they made their fortune by charging a proportion of the efficiency savings their engines made over those of Newcomen? And then there's a bogus use of averaging. To try and understand the stupidity of what she's saying, try:"The speed of aeroplanes didn't improve well into the 21st century: aeroplanes built in the 20C had an average take-off weight of less than 1 ton". Mon 03 Jan 2011 12:51:58 GMT+1 Brian Windle http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=90#comment217 Sorry . For " William Ashworth " in my note read "Pat hudson" Sun 02 Jan 2011 23:43:57 GMT+1 Brian Windle http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=90#comment216 This was the IOT programme i most enjoyed (out of scores ) The complex and interlocking factors leading to the changes were brilliantly and lucidly described by the guests , especially William Ashworth.----- But-- Melvyn ! -- You brought your preconceived ideas of individual genius and ,at times,seened unwilling to let a broader discussion take place. almost shouting down opposing views ! Still great entertainment. ! Sun 02 Jan 2011 23:35:32 GMT+1 DarrenJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=89#comment215 Pat was amazing. I love In Our Time, and she was very welcome. She argued her point very well, but you can see she anticipated that sort of response. Melvyn was probably thinking of his back bone audience when he wanted to go on about the those English Pioneers that paved the way for the glorious industrial revolution, but he should have listened to her argument, he dismissed her too quickly. But then realised towards the end that she actually might have a point. It was Melvyn that had his argument sorted out in his head, a prefixed idea of how the industrial revolution took place....More of Pat Hudson! Sun 02 Jan 2011 15:25:20 GMT+1 DarrenJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=89#comment214 This post has been Removed Sun 02 Jan 2011 15:18:35 GMT+1 Vic Gammon http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=88#comment213 I think Pat Hudson argued reasonably and with complex understanding of the issues. Bragg seemed to lack the ability to grasp the complexity of the argument. His bristlings at her arguments were short tempered and shallow. Thank goodness she held her own. The above comments of the Bragg fans above seem equally shallow. Let's have more spirited discussion on radio. Sometimes generalists are just too general in their understanding! Sun 02 Jan 2011 11:10:35 GMT+1 mariannefielkerobrien http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=88#comment212 [Personal details removed by Moderator][Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]Dear Melvyn BraggAfter years of listening to your programme - fascinating whatever the subject, this is the first time I offer criticism - of part one of the Industrial Revolution.In addition to your unusual interventions, the most significant absence was any contribution of immigration. The only oblique reference to European influence was on developements in Europe, not those Europeans who willingly or otherwise came here with new skills or industries.I can recommend a marvellously densely written history of immigration to this country, packed with extraordinarily obscure facts : - 'Bloody Foreigners', by Robert Winder.I'm certain you will enjoy it! (speaking as one of them - not Irish, but from Jewish immigrants from central Europe). Marianne O'Brien Sat 01 Jan 2011 20:24:47 GMT+1 Roderick Ramage http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=87#comment211 This post has been Removed Sat 01 Jan 2011 19:03:35 GMT+1 richkid http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=87#comment210 Braggs constant interruptions often spoil the flow of this programme for me. This time I feel he really went too far. The fact that he was making a jingoistic point in too forceful a manner without evidence is perhaps not surprising. That he repeatedly tried to speak over one of his guests was rude and unprofessional.Pat Hudson did well to win her point through eventually. Thu 30 Dec 2010 19:20:27 GMT+1 maryeaton http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=87#comment209 In Our Time is one of my favourite radio programmes - unfortunately marred this week (and not for the first time) by the chair's aggressive attack on an eminent female academic. Wed 29 Dec 2010 23:47:43 GMT+1 Peter Robinson http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=86#comment208 I wouldn't want every programme to be like that but occasionally its good to be irritated by people that you initially suspect of being contrary, or as Gilbert says:'..The idiot who praises with enthusiastic tone,All centuries but this and every country but his own..'- except not quite, but I'm sure you know what I mean. By the end, though, I decided that despite the way she put it, she did have an interesting point, although I'm sure that many listeners will have been angered and amused in equal measure by the fact that she wasn't able to accept a single point of anyone else's. Of course racism is unacceptable, but so is bigotry, and in my opinion only one was evident on the programme.. Wed 29 Dec 2010 23:40:07 GMT+1 smcqueen http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=86#comment207 This post has been Removed Wed 29 Dec 2010 21:21:51 GMT+1 Kalan http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=85#comment206 MB first time I have really thought you were completely out of order. You were so fixed on your preconcieved ideas of a Great Genius Britain that you completely refused, until the end, to hear what Pat was trying to say. You need to calm down, you invite people on the programme for their ideas, don't forget this.What, MB, you did reflect was the great British Egoism ...so sure that it was English genius that caused all our Industrial success.It is clear that English success is hugely rooted in the intrinsic at times. We are after all a small island, and this has shaped our collective psyche more than we give credit for. However, our collective psyche and anthropological beings...have also made us hunt out the best solutions in order to survive.I thus give credit to Pat for all her arguments. Wed 29 Dec 2010 20:40:40 GMT+1 Phased http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=85#comment205 Wed 29 Dec 2010 18:12:44 GMT+1 GwilC http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=85#comment204 Over the years, Melvyn Bragg has done a great service to history in bringing serious historical issues to the radio, but he does tend to have a “Great Man” or “great ideas” theory of history. I think he gave the game away in his newsletter about this programme when he said “My view of the Industrial Revolution is hero-based. Men ... full of invention and intelligence ... turned their hands to invention and exploring the mechanical world... In the briefings and the extracts that I’ve read, there is a tendency to play down the contribution of individuals ... With some historians it’s a bit of a fight to foreground individuals.”I think he was having “a bit of a fight” trying to prevent Pat Hudson wreaking havoc his view of the Industrial Revolution! I think she was right to be assertive in the discussion. She successfully resisted the several attempts to sweep aside what she was saying, at one point, I think, turning the tide to rescue the programme from becoming an account of the industrial revolution as (admittedly to caricature this view) a sequence of inventors and inventions.The IR cannot be explained by what happened in Britain alone. International trade was crucial in allowing access to raw materials and markets, without which the IR could not have taken place. That Britain had a monopoly of such trade during a crucial period in its early stage of industrialisation, is largely due to the belligerent foreign policy of the British Government which is one of the crucial points that Pat Hudson was making when she referred to the important role played by government intervention But quite apart from the substantive issues of history and histiography, I think there is a procedural point. With a programme featuring a panel of invited guests who are professionals in the chosen field, I think the host (chair?) should be facilitating a discussion between the guests and, at most, guiding, the debate in which, if there are substantive differences of viewpoints, these are battled out between the contributors. It shouldn’t be the role of the host /chair to intrude his own viewpoint too strongly - and to use his privileged position as chair to beat down the views of the guest contributors that he disagrees with!In his newsletter, Melvyn says (presumably referring to his contributors’ background notes), “There is talk of ... the slave trade... and the Indian textile industry ... On it goes.” – as if all such “talk” was a tiresome distraction from what he considers to be the crucial factor. The tone of these comments suggests that Melvyn is not treating the views of his contributors - a panel of eminent professional historians, specialising in the area in question - with the respect they deserve.I would like to make the following suggestions: For future In Our Time programmes: 1) As the contributors inevitably have a lot more to say than they have time for in the programme, would it be possible to put their background notes on the website so that listeners can benefit from what they could have said, but didn’t have time to, while on air. 2) The chatty style of Melvyn’s newsletter has its attractions but my vote would be to have more of it devoted to comments on the content of the discussion – including criticisms of the views of contributors (which would be better placed here) and/or an overview of the discussion and the relaying on of comments made afterwards. In this way, better use could be made of the newsletter as a supplement to the broadcast discussion and to make up for the limitations of time imposed on it.Going beyond IOT, my suggestion would be that the number of responses which this programme has stimulated, and the high level of interest in the topic among listeners which it reveals, would justify a further programme in the form of a conference in which, if this were agreeable to all, the same contributors could be invited to participate with Melvyn chairing. It would be preferable to have a clear format which could be along the following lines: the contributors are asked to address a key issue. The question asked by Melvyn (that each suggest three factors which, in their view, contributed to the IR taking place in Britain) would be a good one. The contributors are introduced, and each is given ten minutes to put forward their initial ideas. The chair does a quick round up with comments and criticisms, if appropriate, and the contributors are then invited in turn to further develop their initial ideas and respond to what has been said by the other contributors and by the chair. Ideally, this would be a one hour long programme which I accept is a big demand on scheduling time and might be thought to be too specialist and academic to justify the time. But I think that Radio 4 would be underestimating its audience if it were not to take on board the high level of interest expressed by listeners. I think that such a programme would also help the relieve the frustration felt by many that, in Thursday’s programme, for whatever reason, not all the participants had the opportunity to adequately express their views. Wed 29 Dec 2010 17:30:15 GMT+1 GwilC http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=84#comment203 This post has been Removed Wed 29 Dec 2010 17:26:30 GMT+1 Geoff Bond http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=84#comment202 I have a great respect for Melvyn Bragg and his educated examination of a wide range of subjects. I would not have believed it possible for me to have an extra frisson of delight when, for the first time in my hearing, he robustly took to task one of his contributors. That excruciatingly politically-correct Pat Hudson desperately needed her self-loathing denigration of British achievements challenged – and to Melvyn’s credit, he took the fight to the so-called experts.Well done – keep it up! Wed 29 Dec 2010 16:44:22 GMT+1 Geoff Bond http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=83#comment201 This post has been Removed Wed 29 Dec 2010 16:41:26 GMT+1 Peter Bettess http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=83#comment200 This post has been Removed Wed 29 Dec 2010 16:13:00 GMT+1 Ges_Rosenberg http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=82#comment199 How depressing to hear the contribution of science, engineers and technologist to the Industrial Revolution belittled rather than celebrated, and to have arguments that recognise their unique contribution during this momentous turning point in history as being in some way supremicist. Well done Melvyn in chllenging on this point. Accessible coal alone did not lead to industrialisation, nor capital alone, or else the revolution would have happened long ago. The key relevant ingredients were the advancement of science, and following in its wake, engineering and inventiveness. The UK should be proud to have been in the forefront, but recognise with humility that industrialisation brought global environmental degradation that is the legacy and challenge we face today. Wed 29 Dec 2010 16:09:30 GMT+1 Declan Brennan http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=82#comment198 While perhaps uncharacteristically and unseasonably acrimonious, this “In Our Time” has certainly generated a lot of comment. I think one reason for such passion is that the main issue in dispute goes to our core beliefs. Can individuals make a difference or are we all just flotsam on the great tides of history?I am not a historian but I am an engineer. One engineering/scientific viewpoint would be to look at human society as a dynamic system. Such systems can be in a stable mode where perturbations have little effect. However it is also possible in certain situations for such systems to exhibit chaotic behaviour where a small perturbation can produce a big effect – the proverbial butterfly wing.It seems to me that at many times in history, human societies exist in a stable mode where it is very hard for individuals to effect change against such huge inertia. At other times the tides of history- social, economic, political and so on, place the system is in a chaotic state where it is highly responsive or vulnerable to small changes. At such times, it is possible for the right individual to produce huge effects- both good and bad.So I think there is a false dichotomy here. The answer to whether individuals or trends make history is both, with the influence of individuals waxing and waning depending on the stability of the society. From this point of view, too much stability is almost as bad as too little, at least if one is interested in society evolving.With the 20/20 vision of hindsight, it can be easy to see various developments as almost inevitable. However I don’t believe that inventions always appear and become refined in a semi-automatic fashion to fulfil a need. I suspect the nudges produced by individuals in the Industrial Revolution could have pushed the system into very different final states. For example, how inevitable was the development of the railways? Wed 29 Dec 2010 15:01:19 GMT+1 chriscrouchback http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=82#comment197 I was extremely disappointed with Melvyn Bragg's attitude to one of his "guests" - Pat Hudson. He was incredibly dismissive of her point of view. At one stage, he was even rapping on the table after every word he spoke. What happened to the atmosphere of mutual respect? Wed 29 Dec 2010 09:58:19 GMT+1 marko22 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=81#comment196 This post has been Removed Tue 28 Dec 2010 21:20:14 GMT+1 peter mucci http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=81#comment195 Melvyn- hero of the 'inventing classes' !. As your Uni tutor said there ARE 3 causes for everything. The IR was a combination of Labour,Capital and INVENTION. The latter conveniently forgotten by social scientists- it does not fit their idealogy. You all missed the other element which was fast running water which powered the mills AND provided the air pressure to heat the coal to very high temps and hence create STEEL- the real winner. The RS was not in the frame but the RSA was (Royal Society for the Arts,Manufactures and Commerce 1754)-check out William Shipley. Tue 28 Dec 2010 16:27:42 GMT+1 Don Wagstaff http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=80#comment194 I have enjoyed In Our Time for many years, but this week Melvyn lost it. It was very uncomfortable listening as Pat Hudson would not support Melvyn's pre-formed view that it was all determined by 'great men'. Even the other contributors supported her to some degree but Melvyn would not let her develop her ideas. If all Melvyn wants to have is a programme that reflects his views then this is not how I understood IOT to work and it would be a lesser programme. In respect of the content, I didn't think that Professor Hudson's views were unusual now, but they are certainly different from the school history I was taught 40 years ago. Tue 28 Dec 2010 15:17:08 GMT+1 ambikananda http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=80#comment193 Finally, in Pat Hudson an articulate, well-informed woman who refused the game men ask us to play - namely to be quiet when they have something 'important' to say. Please can we have more of her and others like her. Tue 28 Dec 2010 12:36:25 GMT+1 LarryShore http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=80#comment192 This post has been Removed Tue 28 Dec 2010 01:40:01 GMT+1 Jeff http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=79#comment191 After listening to this programme I felt compelled to log a complaint about Mr Braggs contribution. Pat Hudson ( Historian of the period) was merely providing a materialist account of the cause and effects. As a history student in the 1980's I found this approach illuminating and it certainly liberated me from the tired old notion that The Industrial Revolution was merely the result of the genius of British inventers and entrepenuers. I thought Melvyn Bragg ( radio and TV presenter) was astonishing in the way he was so dismissive and irritated by what is now a fairly established interpretation of the period. I was suprised by his lack of understanding of historiography.Ms Hudson marshalled her arguments brilliantly but Bragg just didn't want to know. I actually found it rather disturbing. Mon 27 Dec 2010 19:50:03 GMT+1 William Bedford http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=79#comment190 When I studied economic history, there was an origins theory to do with forty years of good harvests at the beginning of the seventeenth century. According to this theory, the harvests led to a fall in the death rate, a rise in the birth rate, a fall in the price of wheat. This led to surplus cash in farming which sought investment opportunities, hence creating the network of market town banks which were founded by non-conformists, excluded from university and the civil service. None of this was mentioned during the programme. Is this another theory which has bitten the dust? Mon 27 Dec 2010 19:21:20 GMT+1 William Bedford http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=78#comment189 When I studied economic history, the theory was that forty years of good harvests in the first half of the seventeenth century were fundamental: lowering the death rate, raising the birth rate, lowering the price of wheat, thus creating cash surpluses in search of investment opportunities. The latter helped explain (along with discrimination) the growth of the market town banking system which was largely in the hands of non-conformists. Nobody mentioned this during the programme. Is that another theory that has bitten the dust? Mon 27 Dec 2010 19:08:20 GMT+1 S Kelly http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=78#comment188 This post has been Removed Mon 27 Dec 2010 18:02:19 GMT+1 Habbsing http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=77#comment187 This post has been Removed Mon 27 Dec 2010 11:08:12 GMT+1 Gwawr Jones http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=77#comment186 Although it has been briefly touched on by some of the comments, the overwhelming contribution of Nonconformists to the Industrial Revolution was not mentioned by any of the programme's contributors. It is no co-incidence that the scientists, inventors, engineers and industrialists were predominantly Quakers, Unitarians or Congregationalists. These people were not allowed to attend the universities, and founded their own Academies, where the subjects taught (apart from those suitable for the training of ministers of religion) were scientific. No science subjects were taught at Oxford and Cambridge. In fact it could be said that very little was taught at those two places at all! The Academies were of such a high standard that even Anglicans sent their children there. Sunday Schools also promoted discussion of all subjects, and itinerant preachers spread ideas around the Dissenting congregations. The Non-conformist Sunday Schools also created a literate population for the first time, and they were hungry for more information and further advances, as well as for human rights and easier ways of living.Melvyn said that the industrial advances were carried out mainly in the North. Only partly true, as the Industrial Revolution was a child of all the strongly Nonconformist areas. Mon 27 Dec 2010 11:05:55 GMT+1 Gwawr Jones http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=77#comment185 This post has been Removed Mon 27 Dec 2010 10:50:50 GMT+1 David Owen http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=76#comment184 I don't understand how listeners' views are divided between this page and the Blog page you go to if you click on Melvyn's Puppy link. I've just read those comments, which are actually about the content of the programme, well-informed and interesting. Here we have mainly comments about the presentation, especially reactions to Professor Hudson. However I'm probably in the right place, because while I have no specialist knowledge of the subject, I do have a lifetime's experience of teaching, at home and abroad. And I wonder whether anyone else is as frequently struck by what poor communicators many of Melvyn's guests are. Having a doubtless valid idea which you then force-feed on anyone within range, ignoring, overriding or dismissing all other viewpoints, is as likely to provoke hostility as thoughtful consideration. Had I been a student on Professor Hudson's course, I would have switched to someone, or even something else after the first week. But of the two remaining contributors to this particular programme, only one was sufficiently coherent and listenable-to to provide an alternative body of comment from which I felt I could benefit.My suggestion is therefore that the production team pays far more attention to the selection of guests. It's easy to find out who are the current authorities on a particular subject - in writing. But then at least go and listen to them talking to a roomful of students, and get them to speak into a microphone for five minutes. What you should not do is assume that a knowledgeable academic is any good at all as an oral communicator of anything! Mon 27 Dec 2010 10:29:18 GMT+1 MrNiceGuy http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=76#comment183 "In our time" should be renamed to the "Melvyn Bragg show" as he clearly does not need guest experts. As always Melvyn, knows better than everyone else. I had to switch of the show in disgust. Sun 26 Dec 2010 22:33:57 GMT+1 Julian Bourne http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=75#comment182 Mr. Bragg tried to steer the conversation towards the amazing entrepreneurs and extreme challenges of invention in the C17 & C18: the lack standard tools and measurements; the inconsistant materials; the variable processes etc. Such difficulties are only overcome by insight, determination and sweat - genius that was British it turns out. To willfully ignore the inventors and suggest that coal was responsible for the steam engine is like saying Google Search was the product of silicon in Silicon Valley and not the genius of Brin and Page. The show would have been so much more interesting if the panel had allowed this topic to be explored in greater depth. Sun 26 Dec 2010 20:46:56 GMT+1 ken newlan http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=75#comment181 This post has been Removed Sun 26 Dec 2010 20:44:19 GMT+1 Julian Bourne http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=75#comment180 This post has been Removed Sun 26 Dec 2010 19:47:06 GMT+1 Michael Olesen http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=74#comment179 This post has been Removed Sun 26 Dec 2010 19:26:42 GMT+1 cherubino http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=74#comment178 I just wanted to add that I admire Prof. Hudson for not caving in while the man with a bee in his bonnet was browbeating her. She was found the strength to go on despite repeated interruptions. Cherubino (Gerry Blaylock) Sun 26 Dec 2010 19:22:30 GMT+1 John Thompson http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=73#comment177 I think the idea of hero worship has long been perceived as old fashioned.The last cultural historian to use it was Carlyle.History haslong since constructed its narrative from the ground up,using manylayers of interpretation in the shifting sands of time.Just as we dislike politics that is personalised,we think in more sophisticatedways about the real issues.There is no one interpretation of anything.Similarly much as I like this series and MB's role in maintaining it,we shouldn't personalise it as MB vs speaker.Weshould look at the underlying ideas.If we do get more heat than lightthen something is going wrong.Melvyn is primarily a broadcaster,a patron to these visiting academics,they need to abide by some ground rules.He needs to be more circumspect about pushing hisown strong opinions,use a different approach.This was lively,but Ididn't come away with any more knowledge at the end of it.But I didgo away and think about it more.That is a winner.Current tally:-Pro Pat:45Pro Melvyn:42 Sun 26 Dec 2010 19:22:21 GMT+1 cherubino http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=73#comment176 My opinion is that Melvyn Bragg could easily have made his point by using a different tone and having a different attitude: it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it.I found him too argumentative and, well, bolshie. It sounded to me as though he was already hot under the collar before recording the programme. I think he should apologise for his rudeness Sun 26 Dec 2010 16:12:48 GMT+1 JohnBordeaux http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=72#comment175 Pat Hudson may have sounded overbearing but I think that she was correct in stressing that the underlying causes of the Industrial Revolution were certainly complex and based on many factors and not just canals, iron, coal and textiles and a few applied inventions. If there is a future "In our time programme" on the Teaching of History she would make an interesting contributor. Sun 26 Dec 2010 16:03:11 GMT+1 Pauline Stafford http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=72#comment174 I thought Pat Hudson, and her two colleagues did an excellent job - given Melvin Bragg's determination to push his own interpretation. He was not prepared to listen to their opinions, preferring his own. Why have historians on in that case? I'm all for pushing the role of great Northerners, but not at the expense of well-informed historical debate. The three historians had important and interesting things to say. They should have been allowed to say them. Sun 26 Dec 2010 15:37:37 GMT+1 An_Inspector_Calls http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=72#comment173 paul156. You're trying to argue from the particular to the general. As you well know, Watt's original breakthrough work toward the steam engine occurred when he was repairing a model Newcomen engine for Glasgow University - nothing remotely to do with the coal industry. I can't prove it, but I get the picture from that situation that Watt was simply doing the work for his own personal interest. Watt also made engines for industries other than coal, especially tin mining, and there are no design feature in his engines for coal working that suggest he saw the coal industry as his main business. I'm quite comfortable to share your viewpoint that the availability of coal was important. However, there were many drivers of the IR. I see no advantage whatsoever in adopting a blinkered approach to the importance of invention as espoused by Hudson.A great advantage of Watt's invention is that both strokes of the piston became powered and the motion smoother than an atmospheric engine, so further through the IR they could be used in all sorts of manufacturing. This was not covered in the programme, perhaps of a consequence of Hudson's avoidance of the great men and their inventions. In fact, nothing of Watt's great work was discussed, I suppose the next episode will have to ditch Faraday and Maxwell - but Hudson will tell us that electricity was discovered by that Italian chap Volta. Sun 26 Dec 2010 14:19:03 GMT+1 Peter Gout http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=71#comment172 IOT on December 23rd was ruined by Pat Hudson. What should have been an intelligent discussion between learned people was high-jacked by her. I have to ask what is Pat Hudson's problem. What is this chip on her shoulder? Unfortunately Melvyn did not control the debate in his usual sensitive manner. Did she think that all the listeners were only tuning in to listen to a diatribe about how brilliant the British were? As intelligent people we appreciate that there were other influences and input from other countries. When you look at the Industrial Revolution from that angle then you can start to tease out the foundation of its development in the British Isles, where the population was no different to many other countries. It's NOT nationalism and Professor Hudson seems to have lost the plot. It's NOT just coal. Coal doesn't make things! But it is part of the story. If she is on the second programme then I will not be listening. What a shame Melvyn. Sun 26 Dec 2010 13:29:01 GMT+1 Heather Gout http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=71#comment171 I was baffled - why did Pat Hutson feel the need to press the point that the Industrial Revolution was not the result of any inherent English superiority? Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think the "In Our Time" listening audience consist mainly of members of the English Defence League, who might need to have this myth debunked. I think they are educated people who understand the complexity of history, who have shed the old rah-rah jingoism (if they ever espoused it in the first place) and really just wanted an in-depth examination of the phenomenon of industrialisation. I was very disappointed by the 23rd December episode, because we didn't get an informed discussion so much as a rant and counter rant. Unless the panel is changed for Part 2 of this discussion, I'll skip it and wait for the next topic. Sun 26 Dec 2010 12:38:37 GMT+1 paulc156 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=70#comment170 An_Inspector_Calls: “I doubt that Watt considered the expanding mining sector and the rising availability of coal when he invented the steam engine.”Well…“In 1775, Watt designed two large engines: one for the Bloomfield Colliery at Tipton, completed in March 1776, and one for John Wilkinson's ironworks at Willey, Shropshire.” WikipediaSo Watt 'was' designing his engines for the benefit of COAL dominated industries. Making it far more likely to happen in Britain than elsewhere. Who was it now who said 'neccessity is the mother of invention'? hmm... Sun 26 Dec 2010 12:24:33 GMT+1 SurreyABC http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=70#comment169 This post has been Removed Sun 26 Dec 2010 11:41:07 GMT+1 An_Inspector_Calls http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=70#comment168 paulc156. I doubt that Watt considered the expanding mining sector and the rising availability of coal when he invented the steam engine. If anything, more coal means that you can more easily afford the poor efficiency of Newcomen engines. As I understand it, he was repairing a model Newcomen engine and quickly grapsed that the efficiency of these engines can only be improved by making them bigger - in short, he was doing it for the hell of it - as Bragg hinted.I'm not making any silly assertion (a la Hudson) that "we must forget about the availability of coal" - I quite see that it is an important driver for the IR, as is a sound banking system. But to remove the great inventors from the scene as Hudson proposes is an absurd travesty - try it as a thought experiment and what remains?I am aware of the work of Papin. However, his demonstration was more or less static whereas both Somerset's and Savery's earlier concepts embraced the concept of reciprocating, motive power. Huygen's 'proposal' never actually operated, never did any work; Newcomen's did. Sun 26 Dec 2010 09:03:42 GMT+1 John Thompson http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=69#comment167 Industrial Revolution,Engels’name for the radical economic and social changes that took place in Britain during 1730-1850,to transform a mainly agricultural country into one predominantly industrial.It arose out of the change from industries carried on in the home with simple machines to industries in factories with power-driven machinery.It began with the mechanisation of the textile industry,with subsequent major developments in mining,transport and industrial organisation.It was based on Britain’s rich mineral resources,particularly coal and iron ore.With the use of the steam-engine as power,industry became concentrated round the coal fields and the great new industrial towns developed Birmingham, Manchester,Newcastle and Glasgow.Britain became supreme in constructional ironwork(Telford,the |Stephonsons).Canals,bridges,railways and ships were built and great advances made in the practical application of scientific principles.Aided by colonial exploitation Britain became the most prosperous country in the world,the 1st country to be industrialized.The new industrial capitalists took over from the country squires as the new ruling class.The analogy was 1st drawn from the French Revolution:the change is comparable,though the means were different:it has produced, by a pattern of change,a new society. Sun 26 Dec 2010 01:21:23 GMT+1 sirod1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=69#comment166 Marvellously absurd of course - but I've usually felt I was in the company of very intelligent friends chatting away when listening. This verged on more than enthusiastic disagreement and was going in an ugly direction. Nice use of brakes and gears by Melvyn to avoid even more wasted time. Disappointed to see how many people just want a row. Sat 25 Dec 2010 20:47:58 GMT+1 Christmas Evans http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=68#comment165 Pat Hudson was a breath of fresh air. For the first time I really got angry with Melvyn. His notes reveal what was obvious at the time: he came with an agenda and pre-conceived notions that he was not going to allow to be challenged. Hudson did not accuse Melvyn of racism but he was not listening. She was reacting to popular notions of Brits being the best brains in the world, inventive and superior without any reference to the ordinary working person's contribution of problem-solving and the complex fertile ground that allows seeds to germinate and that provokes the formation of these ideas in the first place. She was rudely interrupted at several points but was instrumental in energising debate which on some programmes appears a bit staid and staged frankly. Bring her back! A very healthy debate, thank you, and not to be stifled by the male (be he ever so enlightened) default position of not wishing to be challenged by a woman. Sat 25 Dec 2010 20:46:18 GMT+1 sandra http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=68#comment164 Sat 25 Dec 2010 19:29:02 GMT+1 Michael Watson http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=67#comment163 This post has been Removed Sat 25 Dec 2010 17:27:00 GMT+1 mjchesnel http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=67#comment162 This post has been Removed Sat 25 Dec 2010 16:45:26 GMT+1 BillyBudd http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=67#comment161 Thanks for a very stimulating discussion, and I thought the argumentative tone was just what was needed to liven up debate of what an unusually broad subject.Because it was so broad, I thought several medium-sized elephants in the room were overlooked. It would probably have been a Franco-British industrial revolution but for the turmoil before and after the French Revolution. A previous IOT has told us that French instrument-making and scientific inquiry in the 18C were second to none.It didn't happen in France, then. It didn't happen in Germany because of its political fragmentation and, most likely, the after-effects of the Thirty Years' War. It didn't happen in Austria or Russia because they were still a long way from their democratic revolutions. Whereas Britain had done its 'revolution' in the 17C, and new energies may have been freed by the ending of the American colonial adventure.Melvyn was right to query why Northern England and Scotland were so prominent, rather than London and the South. One reason is surely natural resources, such as water power, but no-one mentioned the resurgence of the Scottish economy from the 1750s, i.e. once the Jacobites has been defeated. Sat 25 Dec 2010 16:21:59 GMT+1 paulc156 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=66#comment160 A little googling gives credance to P. Huson's claims re development of the atmospheric eng. It was the Frenchman Papin who first had the idea of constructing an atmospheric engine. In 1689 he demonstrated what was in effect an embryo steam engine. In 1673 Huygens the Dutch scientist demonstrated a piston engine to the French Academie des Sciences.All prior to Newcomen. Sat 25 Dec 2010 16:15:16 GMT+1 paulc156 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=66#comment159 To Inspector_Calls...It was the expanding mining sector that prompted the invention of the steam engine, not the other way round. ergo COAL!!! Sat 25 Dec 2010 13:58:50 GMT+1 An_Inspector_Calls http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=65#comment158 It was Pat Hudson who adopted the dogmatic approach with words along the lines 'we must get away from the idea that the IR was the product of British inventiveness and genius', and all Bragg did was to challenge her viewpoint. The majority of the programme digressed to that debate in which Hudson did not convince me that the men of ideas and invention were of such little consequence.Some of the things she said sound to me like piffle:"the atmospheric engine was largely developed outside Britain". Where then, and by whom if not Newcomen, developing the ideas of Somerset and Savery? And by the way, this was supposed to be the IR 1750-1820 so shouldn't we have considered the brilliant work of Watt developing the steam engine. (But I expect in a few years time this will have been revised to the PC version that it was really invented by Mega Watt in her kitchen).The idea that these inventions didn't work until they'd been tinkered with by many others and the statement along the lines of "the efficiency of the steam engine was very poor and by 1820 was as low as 14 hp" reveals something of what I surmise is her complete ignorance of engineering.The reason the majority of the inventiveness happened in Britain is not because of our innate inventiveness, it's simply the fact that an increasing workforce lived in enivironment in where they were designing, building, developing and maintaining new machines. It seems to be Hudson, and Hudson alone, who seems to think that to make this observation is in some way chauvinistic.(Someone above commented that UK's GDP 'only' grew by 3.5 % through the IR; such a rate means that GDP doubles every 20 years!! - quite an achievement). Sat 25 Dec 2010 13:15:03 GMT+1 paulc156 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=65#comment157 Best In Our time I have heard in ages. Hudson and Bragg are both naturally opinionated and rather imposing characters but its worth remembering that the Liverpool lecturer absolutely sided with her. It's not revisionist history to reject Bragg's self confessed 'hero version' of the indus. revolutuion. That view was the one taught me in the 70's along with tales about the brave and noble Richard the Lionheart no less! Other nations had inventors and genius of at least the same standing as Britain and others had a culture accepting of change [contrary to Prof Black's claim]so it is not a particularly good explanation of why 'it' happened here first. geddit? Hudson was identifying the 'distinctive' features of Britain in the 18th/19thC-coal, navy,cotton from India thence America. Bragg simply wanted to go with his 'hero' inventors. Today THAT is the revisionist argument! Sat 25 Dec 2010 11:43:29 GMT+1 mdmprof http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=65#comment156 Sat 25 Dec 2010 10:07:08 GMT+1 ZYY http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=64#comment155 Prof Hudson was over-argumentative, PC to the extreme, regularly cut off the other speakers, and was obsessed with minimizing the importance of British inventors. The program was horrid, not because Bragg was ignorant of the subject, but because Prof Hudson was set on imposing her revisionist vision of the Industrial Revolution on everyone else. She kept talking about how the idea of British ingenuity was racist and all falsehood, but never answered to Bragg's perfectly reasonable questions as to why that is so, instead talking on and on about quite irrelevant things.Hoping that the next installment is better, but please do not ever invite her back. It makes for bad radio.As to all the posters who say Bragg was racist/sexist as to her treatment of Prof Hudson, get a grip. He was reacting in a perfectly reasonable way to a unpleasing guest. Sat 25 Dec 2010 06:45:40 GMT+1 David_Brown http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=64#comment154 How do you explain history? That’s the issue at the heart of this fascinating if heated discussion - do you see history as made by human agents or by impersonal social forces? - two conflicting approaches whose merits cannot be decided by ‘facts’ alone. Think about the ways in which we explain things. Some events seem to require explanation in terms of personal factors. For example, why are we posting these comments on the In Our Time website? – for personal and intellectual reasons, I suppose; broadband internet is certainly helping, but it’s not ‘causing’ us to make our comments. Personal reasons and psychology might again feature in ‘Why he killed those women’, though here the criminologist might want to add something about the effect of social conditions. Events, even in the laboratory, depend on a whole set of factors, and when we talk about ‘the cause’ we should realise we’re singling out just one factor, usually whatever starts the change, or it’s the thing we’re most interested in. Unfortunately, we can’t re-run the Industrial Revolution in a laboratory to vary the conditions and see what happens. But even if we could, we’d have to decide in advance which agencies and agents to throw into the mix – a prior decision about what is relevant! A balanced approach seems best in the case of the Industrial Revolution - recognizing the relevance of both human agents and impersonal agencies. For a socio-economic change, socio-economic conditions must feature. Raw materials, markets for goods, investment capital, infrastructure, etc. must all have been available to allow the technical innovations to take hold and develop. Equally, without those innovations and inventions it could not have happened, which brings us back to the inventors and entrepreneurs. So, unless you follow Marx (“Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand", Grundrisse), you have to recognize the place of individuals and their creativity in the story. And this need not be chauvinistic or racist as Pat Hudson seemed to be suggesting (which was clearly a red rag to Melvyn). Whether the inventors had read Newton’s Principia is irrelevant; their (British) education and culture must have played a part. But that education and culture in turn were the offspring of European culture … and in turn, of Christendom and the Graeco-Roman world, and indeed Aristotle if we go along with Michael Eldred. Of this, surely, we can be thankful, even proud. Fri 24 Dec 2010 23:24:52 GMT+1 David_Brown http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=63#comment153 This post has been Removed Fri 24 Dec 2010 23:21:31 GMT+1 paulc156 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=63#comment152 Just read Melvyn's newsletter.Here's a telling line which explains at least in part why he got so upset at Pat's version of events."My view of the Industrial Revolution is hero-based." Oh dear! Not so much racist as hagiographic. At least Pat Hudson and William Ashworth supplied some much needed breadth and balance to what might otherwise been a picture postcard Brticentric version of events as favoured by Melvyn and Prof Black. Fri 24 Dec 2010 22:05:36 GMT+1 sandra http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=62#comment151 It is not a bad sign when things get hot in discussion.possibly the chairman provoked some of the fire by apparently complaining about some of the things missed out fro contributions (about british inventiveness etc) but he also managed to steer things towards a calm port.i am sure the next episode will be awaited with interest! Fri 24 Dec 2010 21:10:40 GMT+1 sandra http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=62#comment150 I think the discussion revealed fascinating and emotive angles upon a phenomenon which grips the imagination.I don't think the contributors can be blamed for the fact that that their readings of the events contradict a rather strong ,imbedded received myth about britain Fri 24 Dec 2010 21:06:15 GMT+1 Triergon http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=62#comment149 This post has been Removed Fri 24 Dec 2010 20:04:54 GMT+1 Rob George http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=61#comment148 A great way to spend my snowy trip to workbut this time the programme touched on ideas close to it's and no doubt melvyns heartnamely is it ideas or the environment that move things forwardweek after week I hear the former argument put forward with little questioningyesterday the counter argument was put with the required detail to begin to make it convincingand melvin didn't like itwhy does a materialist argument upset so many people of an accademic dispersition these daysmaybe it's because for 30 years accademia has itself leaned heavilly towards great men theories of progress Fri 24 Dec 2010 19:53:25 GMT+1 hometune http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=61#comment147 Irrespective of Pat Hudson's faults, it behoves Melvyn to facilitate and encourage his guests. The presenter, above all others, should be aware that two or more speaking at the same time on the radio is totally unintelligible to the listeners at home. The idea is to hear what the guests have to say, not to hear why Melvyn thinks they're wrong. Melvyn's usually a first class Chair of this prog so I'll forgive this little lapse. Fri 24 Dec 2010 19:50:44 GMT+1 Rob George http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=60#comment146 This post has been Removed Fri 24 Dec 2010 18:55:32 GMT+1 J M Barber http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=60#comment145 I first studied the Industrial Revolution at school and university in the early 1960s. Ever since then the debate about its causes has constantly shifted accompanied by much controversy. Today the IR tends to be seen as the product of complex interactions between multiple causes. The process is very difficult to describe verbally in a linear processional fashion. Modern theories of innovation stress the intereraction between demand pull (the market) and technology push (the inventor), both are necessary. Fri 24 Dec 2010 18:19:45 GMT+1 J M Barber http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=60#comment144 This post has been Removed Fri 24 Dec 2010 17:52:27 GMT+1 ellaine http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=59#comment143 I found what Pat Hudson had to say extremely interesting and was annoyed that Melvyn kept interrupting her over and over with the same remark. She started off speaking in a normal moderate tone but naturally became increasingly annoyed.Why invite such eminent and well-informed guests on to the programme and then not let us hear what they have to say? I find that Melvyn often does tend to interrupt and shout down the female guests more than the male ones. I hate to say this,not wanting to make a feminist issue of it. But I wonder if Melvyn, in wanting to be non-sexist, leans a bit too far the other way. Fri 24 Dec 2010 17:19:36 GMT+1 E P Sporgersi http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=59#comment142 This post has been Removed Fri 24 Dec 2010 16:55:41 GMT+1 Tony http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=58#comment141 I do very much wish that MB would remember a little about what gentlemanly behaviour might mean. He constantly excludes a great number of us by his obsessive stress on being 'English', but forgets the highest achievement of that geographical area, namely chivalrous manners. Any woman who appears on his programme is immediately shouted down, often for some minutes, tediously. He probably believes this is 'equal' treatment, but it is GROSS. What is more, these people are chosen because they know a god deal more than his out--of-date sixth-form notes, and many of us would like to hear what they say. Pack it in, MB! Fri 24 Dec 2010 16:50:56 GMT+1 dllewellynfoster http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00wqdc7/?page=58#comment140 This show has certainly elicited a spirited response from the listeners, so much so that I propose to listen again very carefully to ascertain exactly what was said by whom, why and how. Frankly the impression I received was that the host failed to exercise appropriate restraint and things escalated into an unseemly rant. No doubt MB will have time to recover his composure by next week. Something that seems not to have been raised (except in passing in one of the listener's comments,) was the Bristol slave-trade and its role in financing the early developments. Pat Hudson's contribution was extremely intelligent and it would have been far more conducive to further discussion had the learned "gentlemen" been prepared to listen a bit more attentively. All parties had important points to make. MB could have wasted less time I feel had he been prepared to restrain the incendiary enthusiasm of his own convictions. The whole point of mutual discourse is to refrain from the sophistry of "grand narrative" assumptions and to respect alternative perceptions and readings. I trust we shall not be subjected to any more lapses of professional decorum in future. Fri 24 Dec 2010 15:39:59 GMT+1