THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (G3a)
xxxxxIt was in 1771 that the textile "king", Richard Arkwright, opened up the first factory worked by water power and began the movement towards industrialisation. However, many earlier inventions had led up to this move, especially in the woollen and cotton industries, where men like John Kay, James Hargreaves and Arkwright himself had greatly improved the quality and output of the machinery in use. Then in 1779 Samuel Crompton, by his "spinning mule", virtually put the industry on to large-
xxxxxThe start of the Industrial Revolution is difficult if not impossible to fix by date. The Revolution was not, as we know, a dramatic change, but a long drawn out process differing in speed and intensity from industry to industry and region to region. The year 1771 is selected here simply because it was at this time that the English textile industrialist Richard Arkwright moved away from the restrictions of a cottage industry and set up his cotton mill at Cromford, Derbyshire, worked by waterpower (illustrated).This was the first factory of its kind in the world, where people were brought together in one building and organised for work under a harsh code of discipline. As such it was the beginning of the factory system in Britain, a system which was to become the characteristic method of production in modern society, the very essence, in fact, of an Industrial Revolution. The year 1771 witnessed, if nothing else, the first visible move from the old to the new in the world of manufacture.
xxxxxBut this said, there were, of course, earlier events -
xxxxxAs we have seen, the need to use water power had already been anticipated by Arkwright. His water frame had been designed with that in mind. A few years after he had established his first water-
xxxxxThis very source had begun to take shape in 1709 (AN) with Abraham Darby's revolutionary improvement in the production of cast-
xxxxxBut the real breakthrough came in the early 1780s when James Watt not only provided his engine with double-
xxxxxAs far as improvements to transport were concerned -
xxxxxNor were roads completely neglected. During the period 1760 to 1774, for example, over 450 turnpike acts were passed by Parliament, and each trust was responsible for developing and maintaining certain stretches of road. Again, however, the work of such men as Metcalf, Telford and Macadam was to take place after 1783.
xxxxxTo a very large extent, the Industrial Revolution was a British phenomenon at this particular time. For the most part, countries on the continent and in North America were to feel the effects of industrialisation as from the new century. There were a number of reasons for this. Britain had an abundant supply of natural resources -
Cromford: tinted engraving, early 1800s, artist unknown. Water Power: drawing by the Pre-