Shropshire Routes to Roots
|Routes | Industrial development | Exploring industrialisation|
1. Background to industrialisation
How can I use historical sources to explore the effect of Industrialisation where I live?
From the middle of the 1700s, there was an increase in industry across England. Mills spun cloth, furnaces smelted iron and pit shafts were sunk to bring the coal to fuel them. New towns and cities, with rows of houses for the workers, sprung up around the factories and mines. The heroes of this age were not soldiers but engineers: Watt, Brunel, Telford. Britain was dramatically changing from an agricultural to an industrial economy.
The initial heartland of this change was Shropshire, England. Shropshire had unusually high concentrations, in a single area, of different resources such as iron and coal. In the final quarter of the eighteenth century, more iron was produced in Shropshire than in any other county of Great Britain. Although Shropshire's significance gradually declined by the middle of the next century, it was still an important industrial area.
Before you start this research-based theme, you may like to read some more background information in the Industrial development: Shropshire's industrial heritage theme.
Exploring industrialisation around the 1850's
In the year 1851, Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition in London. This was a glamorous display of Britain's manufactures, art and discoveries. It was the crowning moment of the Industrial Revolution, which proved to the world that Britain was the world leader in industry.
The following pages will show you how we can examine a variety of historical sources from Shropshire from the middle of the nineteenth century, and use these to see how Britain changed before and after the 1850s.
Using the information and ideas here, you could research the impact of the Industrial Revolution on your area of Shropshire, or your part of England. Eventually, you should be able to work out how local changes fit in with the national picture.
The pages focus on the Wrockwardine Wood area of Shropshire in the period around 1850. Wrockwardine Wood is an area to the west of Wellington. It was originally a detached part of the larger Wrockwardine parish to the east, before it became a parish in its own right in 1834. You can view a modern map of the area through Streetmap.co.uk (Opens in a new window).
ContinueFind out how to use a census to get historical information: Next
Page created December 2003 and last updated 1 August 2007