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British industry: history, current situation, future

Kosyanova Julia group 101

What is Industry ?

Industry is the production of an economic good or service within an economy. Industry is often classified into three sectors: primary or extractive, secondary or manufacturing, and tertiary or services.

History Industrial development

The Industrial Revolution In a period loosely dated from the 1770s to the 1820s, Britain experienced an accelerated process of economic change that transformed a largely agrarian economy into the world's first industrial economy.

Industrial revolution

Development of industry in the UK has begun from the Industrial Revolution. It was the transition to new manufacturing processes that occurred in the period from about 1760 to some time between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, improved efficiency of water power, the increasing use of steam power and development of machine tools. The transition also included the change from wood and other biofuels to coal.

Major technological developments


Textiles Steam power Iron making

Current situation

Little more than a century ago, Britain was the workshop of the world. Today, the UK is highly industrialized, this was the country in which the earliest developments of modern industry took place. In the past English industrial prosperity rested on a few important products, such as textiles, coal and heavy machinery. Now the UK has a great variety of industries, for example heavy and light industry, chemical, aircraft, electrical, automobile and many other industries. The United Kingdom is considered one of the world's major manufacturing nations. Now high technology industries are more developed than heavy engineering. Heavy engineering and other traditional industries have experienced a certain decline.

Current situation

It is not as if Britain is without industrial strength. It is one of the world leaders in the production of microprocessors. It has already led to the creation of 'hi-tech' industries in three main areas, west of London along the M4 motorway or 'Golden Corridor', the lowlands between Edinburgh and Dundee, nicknamed 'Silicon Glen', and the area between London and Cambridge.

Industrial areas and cities

Newcastle. Newcastle played a major role during the 19th-century Industrial Revolution, and was a leading centre for coal mining and manufacturing. Heavy industries in Newcastle declined in the second half of the 20th century; office, service and retail employment are now the city's staples. The city is also today recognised for its commitment to environmental issues, with a programme planned for Newcastle to become "the first Carbon Neutral town". Lancashire. Lancashire in the 19th century was a major centre of industrial activity and hence of wealth. Activities included mining and textile production (particularly cotton), though on the coast there was also fishing. Today the largest private industry in Lancashire is the defense industry.

The Midlands, or the central counties of England, are famous for the production of machinery, coal, motor cars and chemicals. In recent times regional industrial distinctions have become less clear as more and more new factories are built in the different parts of the country.

Birmingham. It is the biggest town in an important industrial area near the centre of England. Machines, cars and lorries are made in this area. TV sets and radios are also produced there. Besides, the urban agglomeration around Birmingham has the second-largest economy in the United Kingdom and the 72nd-largest in the world.

London. It is a big port on the River Thames, a major commercial, industrial centre. London, the capital, is one of many important industrial centers. Lots of things such as clothes, food, planes and cars are made in and around London. London's largest industry is finance, and its financial exports make it a large contributor to the UK's balance of payments. The City of London is home to the Bank of England, London Stock Exchange, and Lloyd's of London insurance market. London has five major business districts: the City, Westminster, Canary Wharf, Camden & Islington and Lambeth & Southwark.

Canary Wharf is a major business and financial centre and is home to some of the UK's tallest buildings.

Ship- building

London Glasgow Belfast