Industrial Revolution Why it happened first in Britain

The Industrial Revolution started in Britain due to many different reasons. It was a huge turning point in history, and changed Britain's entire way of life.

The Agricultural Revolution

Improvement in farming tools
  • Before the Agricultural Revolution 80% of population lived and worked on farms.
  • In the mid 1600s the Agricultural Revolution took place.
  • It led to greater diversity in wheat and vegetable, improvement in crop management (crop rotation) and the ability to hold more live stock.
  • Farmers started to grow and sell more crops to make a profit.
  • Eventually, enclosures where introduced that gave wealthy landowners small groups of locally owned farm land.
  • These landowners combined the land to make a big farm, and rented it out to tenant farmers.
  • The former farmes moved to the city looking for jobs
  • They mostly all ended up working in factories.

The former farmers became the new working class.

Raw Materials

  • Britain was very fortunate to have a big deposit of coal and iron.
  • Before the Industrial Revolution, producers had to smelt (heat) the iron ore to extract the metal.
  • You needed a lot of charchole to gernerate enough heat to melt the iron ore.
  • But making enough charchole was very time comsuming and required a lot of wood (which Britain didn't have).
  • In 1709, Abraham Darby, discovered a new way to smelt iron ore.
  • He found that baking coal produced a smokless fule, known as coke.
  • Coke could generate a lot more heat when burning, and quickly replaced charcoal.
  • A lot of other inovations were discovered during the Industrial revolution that made smelting iron ore easier.
  • By 1796 Britain was producing up to 125 000 tones of iron.
  • In centuries leading up to the Industrial Revolution, international trade had been increasing.
  • Which ment Britain had access to lots of raw materials, such as: cotton, wool, tea, rubber, coffee, sugar, gold,wheat and timber.

Britain not only had the raw materials to build and run factories, but also had the materials to produce other products

Stable Government

  • Unlike other countries Britain had a pretty stable government.
  • This stability helped industrial development, development of companies, and individual entrepreneurship were encouraged.
  • They also encouraged people to explore the world for new resources and invent new and efficient ways of working.
  • They had had no political conflicts for a period of time before the Industrial Revolution which allowed them to trade with other countries.
  • The governmet where flexible enought to embrace new changes
  • And also to provide support to business and individuals taking palce in the Revolution.

The stable government allowed international trade and growth of businesses and inventions.


Steam powered train
  • This was one of the most important changes that caused the Industrial Revolution.
  • The inventions of machines to do the work of hand tools
  • The adoption of mass production and factory systems
  • There were many great inventions built during the Revolution, such as: John Kay's flying shuttel, Richard Arkwirght's water frame, James watt's steam engine, Robert Fulton's steamboat, Stephonson's steam train and many many more.

The use of steam, and later other kinds of power, in place of muscel power, and animal power helped the Revolution


  • Britain had a large workforce and lots of customers, due to their huge population.
  • Due to the Agricultural Revolution, Britain had a massive workforce that helped build and run the factories, and provide new goods and services.
  • Due to a massive populatin, they had a massive market to sell to.
  • Devolpment of new machinery, ment that former farmers were no longer required.
  • These farmers were then able to retrieve mterials and produce new goods.

Due to a massive population/workforce, Britain found it very easy to produce and provide new goods and services.

Banking System

  • Long before 1750, Britain had a well devolped economy with gold, copper and notes
  • But the growth in wealth and business opportunities increased the need for both somewhere to deposit money, and a source of loans for buildings and equipment.
  • When merchant's, farmers, wholesaler's and many others saw that their business could make a profit, they started to invest money.
  • This increased the wealth of the banks
  • Banks were able to loan money at a low investment rate.
  • This helped the inventors during the Revolution.

The Banks in Britain really helped the inventors, farmers, merchant's and wholesaler's to grow their businesses during the Revolution, by either loaning them money or helping them make a profit.

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