When was the Industrial Revolution?

The Industrial Revolution, which begun in Europe in the early 1700’s, saw dramatic improvements in travel and carrying of cargo.

In Britain, private roads called turnpikes were built in the 1750’s and travellers had to pay tolls to use them. But these soon became rutted and in need of repair. In about 1810, a Scottish engineer called John Macadam developed a new type of hard-wearing road surface that drained easily.

As industry expanded, greater loads of heavy goods such as coal and iron had to be taken across country. Rivers did not always go in the right direction, so canals were dug instead. The first modern canal system opened in France in 1681, and was copied later in Britain and the USA. By about 1800, there were nearly 7,000 km of canal in Britain. Steam power was the driving force of the Industrial Revolution. In 1804 an Englishman, Richard Trevithick, built a steam engine which could pull itself along on iron rails. His idea was later developed by George Stephenson, whose locomotive Rocket, was used to pull trains from 1829.

Fact File:

In 1837 the English engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel launched the Great Western, the first all-steam ship to carry passengers across the Atlantic.


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