The Industrial Revolution
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The Industrial Revolution

This topic sounds more like it should be in the GCSE history syllabus than geography but the examiners feel that it is necessary to look at how British industry has been influenced by the landscape and natural resources. It is also part of the story of urbanisation and can help you to understand how and why urban areas have developed.

Many social, environmental and economic factors affect the location of industry, some have a greater impact than others. At the start of the Industrial Revolution, British industry was sited according mainly to physical factors rather than socio-economic factors. The new factories of the Industrial revolution required power. The start of the factory system was when the silk and cotton mills were established in the Derwent valley of Derbyshire.

One of the main reasons for siting them here was that they were close to their source of power - they were water mills. Later factories used steam power and so industry appeared near coalfields. Coal is bulky to transport and could only be taken from coalfield to consumer by horse and cart so the shorter the distance from coalfield to factory, the better. The same applied to the raw materials. These also tended to be bulky items that were hard to transport, influencing where factories were built.

Accessibility was another key factor. The only method of transport available to the industrial revolution workforce was Shank's Pony (walking!!) so factories were often sited in cities. The best cities were in the Midlands and the North of England plus Edinburgh and Glasgow because these were close to coal and navigable waterways - coal and other raw materials could be brought in by boat. It also meant that the workforce only had a short distance to walk to get to work. A downside of this for the factory owner was that it was difficult to extend the business as land in cities, even then, was limited. Another reason for early industry to be sited in cities was that there were plenty of potential workers nearby, which made it easier to hire them.

Communications at the start of the Industrial Revolution were poor, the road network was not well developed which meant that it could be difficult getting the products to where they were to be sold. Cities had the best lines of communications so again, that made them a suitable choice.

The Industrial Revolution caused which of the following?
An increase in wealth of rural areas
An increase in cottage industries
Urban to rural migration
Rural to urban migration
Factories often were developed in or on the edge of large towns and cities
The county of Lincolnshire was not subjected to industrialisation during the Industrial Revolution. Which of the following is the most likely explanation?
There were no wealthy people living there so no-on could afford to build a factory
There were no mineral resources that could be mined to supply industry
The local people refused to have factories built there
The government passed a law preventing any factories from being built in Lincolnshire
Raw materials, a readily available workforce and good communications are factors that influence the siting of industry. Lincolnshire did not have these
The Bridgewater Canal was built for the Duke of Bridgewater who owned some coal mines at Worsley, to the north-west of Manchester. How did it affect industry in Manchester?
It had no effect on Manchester Industry
Factories could buy coal at cheaper prices
The Duke could get there more easily and spent more money with Manchester industries
Manchester Industries could send their products more easily to the Duke
Even if you know nothing about this canal, the clue to the answer lies in the question. This is a common tactic of the examiners which tests your ability to use your knowledge of economic geography
Why did the Industrial Revolution lead to the building of canals throughout the UK?
To transport raw materials and manufactured goods
To enable the rural population easier access to factories
So that factory workers could use them for their leisure activities
To get water from one river to another
Canals existed in many parts of the world, including Britain, before the Industrial Revolution
During the Industrial Revolution in Britain:
the rural population increased
the country's economy moved from the primary to the secondary sector
charcoal was the main fuel used in factories
no new roads were built
Before the Industrial Revolution, the main British industry was agriculture. Manufacturing is the secondary sector of business
Economic development is:
A measure of a country's wealth only
A measure of how a country's wealth is generated only
Both of the above
Neither of the above
The level of industrialisation of a country is an important factor in measuring its development
Which raw material that was available locally, led to the establishment of a chemical industry in the area of Liverpool and Manchester?
Underground deposits of salt in Cheshire were used to manaufacture several important chemicals that could be exported round the world from the port of Liverpool
In terms of economic development, which of the following is considered as being less economically developed than the other options?
Countries whose main industry is agriculture are considered as being less economically developed (LEDCS)
Which of the following is a reason why the first factories were sited in the Derwent Valley of Derbyshire?
They relied on water to make their machinery work
They relied on coal to make their machinery work
They relied on natural gas to make their machinery work
They relied on horses to make their machinery work
The river Derwent was large enough to supply sufficient water to power large factories
Which of the following made industrialisation more likely in a particular location?
Good transport links
Available workforce
Local raw materials
All of the above
These factors kept manufacturing costs as low as possible and produced higher profits
Author:  Kev Woodward

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