Local History Articles

Economic and Social Changes in Deal and Surrounding Parishes in the Second Half of the 19th Century

Social and economic change in Britain during the nineteenth century was probably greater than at any other time in history. Communities in Britain at the start of the century were overwhelmingly agricultural while manufacturing industries tended to be small and scattered, more often than not in rural situations. As the century unfolded so steam power drove some of the most radical changes in our society. Not so restricted by situation as water and wind powered industries, and providing much greater power and flexibility in use, it could drive more industries in bigger factories placed at the convenience of the factory owner rather than the elements. Towns grew large around these newly developing industries and the coalmines sunk to satisfy their hunger for fuel. The revolution had stated in the previous century and in consequence the small rural iron smelting and textile industries in Kent had long closed down in the face of this unequal competition. New industrial processes led to the production of large quantities of cheap steel. Transport was revolutionised by the rapidly expanding network of railways. Iron clad, steam powered ships replaced wooden sailing vessels.

 

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