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18 September 2014
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Victorian Britain

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Industry and Invention: Go Further


The Age of Manufactures, 1700-1820: Industry, Innovation and Work in Britain by Maxine Berg (Routledge, 1994). Berg provides a valuable corrective to the factory-dominated image of industrialising Britain, by shifting her focus to domestic and workshop-based industries, many of which employed a large proportion of female workers.

Progress and Poverty: An Economic and Social History of Britain, 1700-1850 by MJ Daunton (Oxford University Press, 1995). A comprehensive and clear analysis that integrates the latest research in economic, social and political history, recognising regional variations, in particular the differences between England and Scotland.

Industrial Espionage and Technology Transfer: Britain and France in the Eighteenth Century by JR Harris (Ashgate, 1998). In a richly textured account of French attempts to transfer new technologies across the Channel, Harris discovers the world of industrial espionage, emphasising the role played by emigrant skilled workers and the individuals who suborned them.

The Industrial Revolution by Pat Hudson (Edward Arnold, 1992). A highly accessible introduction, which contests the present emphasis on slow economic growth. Hudson argues that the revolutionary nature of social and economic change in the period from the 1760s to the 1830s should not be lost sight of.

The Great Divergence by Kenneth Pomeranz (Princeton University Press, 1999). In a stimulating re-examination of the Big Question, Pomeranz critically compares Europe with Asia, to offer a new explanation of why the former enjoyed economic development and political dominance in the 19th century. He emphasises the advantages Europe gained from the exploitation of the resources of the New World and its own coal mines.

Continuity, Chance and Change: The character of the industrial revolution in England by EA Wrigley (Cambridge University Press, 1988). Wrigley challenges the notion of the 'Industrial Revolution' as a single process. Instead, he argues, it comprised two overlapping and unconnected phenomena, as England narrowly escaped the ecological constraints imposed on further economic growth through the adoption of mineral raw materials.


Monuments and Dust (Universtity of Virginia) - A site that explores the culture of Victorian London. The comprehensive archive includes extracts from Victorian editions of The Times, and information on transportation, scandal, disease, death and fashion. You can also enjoy trip round a 3-D model of Crystal Palace, the site of the Great Exhibition.

The National Archives - Sources and links to material about conditions in Victorian towns and a newly-industrialised society.

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Published: 04-11-2004

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