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Industrial Development and Location in Leeds North of the river Aire, 1775-1914

Ward, M.F. (1972) Industrial Development and Location in Leeds North of the river Aire, 1775-1914. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Manufacturing industry constituted a factor of prime importance in the economic growth of the town of Leeds throughout the period 1775 to 1914, during which the factory system was introduced to most branches of manufacturing and there was unprecedented expansion in both the population and the built-up area of the borough. The 19th century witnessed steady progress from a system of industrial production essentially workshop based to the factory system, until the close of the Victorian era heralded a new pattern of manufacturing related to new forms of transportation and communication, greatly enhanced labour mobility, and the planned development of urban areas. With its strong tradition of involvement in the manufacture and marketing of woollen cloth Leeds was not slow to follow the example of capitalists in Lancashire and the East Midlands in setting up textile factories after 1789, initially in the cotton trade, and a few years later the first woollen and flax mills I were established. By 1850 Leeds had become the foremost centre for flax spinning and for cloth finishing, was prominent in cloth manufacture and in dyeing, and also housed a number of worsted mills. In addition individual engineering and leather firms were by now catering for a more than local demand, and during the second half of the century these trades, along with the manufacture of clothing and footwear, rose to prominence, providing employment for almost a quarter of the city's workforce in 19ll. There were other important industries besides, so that Leeds by 1914 had come to possess a healthy diverse economy. The siting-of individual industrial concerns within North Leeds exerted a profound effect upontthe shape 'and form of urban growth and reflected the operation of a multiplicity of factors the analysis of which for.ms the second part of the thesis. In a period throughout which the dominant source of power was the steam engine, and in a town noted for its textile industries, the key consideration in intra-urban location of manufacturing was frequently the provision of water, and sites alongside the River Aire and its tributaries were favoured alike for workshops and for factories. This choice was reinforced by the general orientation of transportation facilities along these valley corridors and by the nature of the land there available. Also significant were the distribution of the working population and the close degree of interdependence between firms and industries which sometimes produced marked areal association of firms, as for example in the early clothing industry. Access to raw materials, fuel, and markets, though important in attracting industry to Leeds in the first place, was not a critical factor in the siting of factories within the in-township of North Leeds. Finally the impact of individual circumstances and of individual decisions is given implicit recognition by means of an appendicised gazetteer of all the principal factory sites, detailing their history and development throughout the period.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Geography (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2010 11:08
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 10:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1073

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