Tourists are today urged to visit the 'birthplace of the Industrial Revolution', packaged as part of 'a glorious heritage'. Half a century and more ago the picture was very different. Then the Industrial Revolution was commonly treated as having been a social catastrophe which had brought 'a new barbarism' to the country. Donald Coleman traces the history of the term 'Industrial Revolution' and the uses to which it has been put. Originating in European radical Romanticism, popularised in English by Arnold Toynbee in the 1 880s, it has achieved, with its meaning transformed, the status of potent myth in the nation's history. The book examines industrial revolutions real and imaginary; illuminates some of the activities of businessmen engaged therein; considers attitudes towards the businessmen who have thus come to occupy the historical stage; and discusses the academic study of business history- a subject hardly imaginable without the Industrial Revolution. In the course of investigating these inter-related topics, the volume as a whole offers valuable insights into the ways in which economic history has been written and the concepts which have been invented and deployed in an effort to understand a central event in British history. This book provides an excellent introduction to the subject.
Myth, History and the Industrial Revolution