Top positive review
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Superb book on the Industrial Revolution in Britain
on 1 July 2013
This book has to be one of the most comprehensive and thoroughly researched surveys of the industrial revolution in Britain. It is a big book - over 650 pages - and it is stuffed with maps, diagrams, photographs, drawings and paintings, many of them contemporary with the events and places described in the text.
Every aspect of the industrial revolution is touched on - coal, cotton, iron & steel, woolens, engineering, railways, ceramics, roads, canals. All the regions of Britain are described, although there is a clear concentration on the developments in the English Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire since this is where a lot of the action took place. Wales, Scotland and Ireland all have their place - with the unearthly wilderness of the abandoned Parys Mountain copper mine on Anglesey a particularly memorable location.
The detail is impressive, with all kinds of records mined to give a full flavour of individual towns and wider districts. The census records shine a light on just how many people were engaged in particular jobs and trades, such as the canal barge folk shown engaged in their trade scattered across England, many miles from home. The sheer ferment of activity is vividly brought to light - with the myriad of small concerns shown alongside the larger and more famous companies and mills.
This remarkable and fascinating period in world history is made to live again in the pages of this book - and there are reminders of events, places and people that are almost forgotten in our 21st century.
I'd recommend every home to have a copy - you can use it as an excellent preparation for visiting the growing list of industrial heritage museums and preservations, such as Quarry Bank (Cotton) Mill, the superb set of locations around Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale, Crofton Beam Engines, the Great Western Society at Didcot and so on.