Consequences for industry

Recent historians have undermined the idea of an 'Industrial Revolution 1780-1830'. They have claimed that:

  • The rate of economic growth between 1780 and 1830 was much slower than previously thought.
  • There was significant industrialisation in Britain before 1780.
  • Some sectors of the economy grew, eg textiles, iron and coal, but the rest stayed stagnant, or grew very slowly.
  • Most of England in 1851 was little different from England in 1751.

Many historians think that the likelihood is that Britain's economy grew unevenly but gradually from 1700 to 1900, but there was no revolutionary 'spurt' of growth between 1780 and 1830. They are in opposition to traditional historians who believe that industrial advancements such as machinery and railways, revolutionised Britain, boosted the economy and laid the foundations for long-term change.