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The Industrial Revolution


The Industrial Revolution was a period of great change. New industries developed rapidly as a result of a number of new inventions and the way in which things were produced, and the way in which people lived and worked, changed rapidly as a result of these developments. 

'Legging' a canal barge through a tunnel during the industrial revolution

It is hard to say exactly when the Industrial revolution started or when it finished. Many factors influenced the changes that happened which makes studying the Industrial Revolution a little more complex than some other areas of History.

This unit looks briefly at a number of the factors that caused industrialisation, it examines the impact of the new industries and offers descriptions of some of the major inventions of the era. Links to more detailed pages and useful activities are provided where they are felt necessary.

In Primary Schools some aspects of the Industrial Revolution may be taught. These could relate to the Victorian age in general. These studies vary but typically look at things such as Schooling, Housing, Pastimes and Leisure and the main differences between that period and the modern day.

At Key Stage Three the Industrial Revolution can be delivered in a number of ways. Some schools will teach Industrialisation as a stand alone unit. Others will teach classes about a number of themes that include the period in which Industrialisation happened. Either approach is likely to look at the ways in which the United Kingdom changed at this time. This will include the move from a mainly agricultural society to an urban based society; the development of mills, with particular reference to a number of industries but may also look at social changes at the time such as political changes or changes in areas such as medicine. 

At both Primary School and within Key Stage Three there is scope for the development and expansion of the British Empire to be taught.

GCSE students may or may not be taught about the Industrial Revolution. Those who do learn about the period are likely to d so in the context of a study in development: Crime or Medicine through time, or through a study of a local site.

Terraced housing, typical of the type found in towns and cities during the Industrial Revolution.

Teachers resources will be added to this unit at a later date. Please feel free to contribute your own worksheets, ideas or content to make this site more useful to teachers and students. 

This unit is closely related to our section on political protests and reforms of the 18th and 19th Centuries.


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