How rapid was the process of industrialisation in Britain?


  • The most dynamic industries in Britain were cotton and metal. Cotton was the leading sector.
  • With the expansion of railways in England and its colonies, the demand for iron and steel increased rapidly.
  • The new industries could not easily displace traditional industries. Textiles was a dynamic sector, but a large portion of the output was produced outside factories, within domestic units.
  • The pace of change in the traditional industries was not set by steam powered cotton or metal industries. Ordinary and small innovations were the basis of growth in many non- mechanised sectors such as food processing, building, pottery, glass work, etc.
  • Technological changes occurred slowly. New technology was expensive and merchants and industrialists were cautious about using it. The machines often broke down and repair was costly. They were not as effective as their investors claimed.