The location of industry in the landscape
Industry and agriculture are today treated as two separate and often oppos-ing entities. In the early eighteenth century this was not the case. These two spheres of activity necessary for human existence interacted for both economic and geographical reasons. The majority of people in Britain were still at least partially dependent on what they could grow for their survival, and industrial activity had to be carried on in association with farming and smallholding, not separated from it. In other words, industry had to go to the people, not the people to industry. Manufacturing and even mining were still usually seen as a by-employment, not as the total means of subsistence. Human muscle was still the major source of power in the early eighteenth century, and the necessary dispersal of the workforce for subsistence purposes meant that industry equally had to be dispersed. Only as agriculture began to change and produce a surplus which could support a population wholly engaged in manufacturing industry could industrial conurbations begin to develop.
Most industrial enterprises still served just a regional, if not a local, demand and their products were sold through markets, fairs and local carriers, few of which drew on so extensive a hinterland as the famous Stourbridge Fair. Daniel Defoe’s Tour Through England and Wales of 1724 indicates how a national market for manufactured goods was already developing, but it must be remembered that he was particularly interested in what was new, not in what was commonplace. Difficulties of transport hindered the sale of goods much beyond the region, and so the production of basic necessities was replicated throughout the country. The making of boots and shoes was practised in all communities, as was brewing and malting. Agriculture did not often provide a sufficient livelihood and many families resorted to industrial by-employment. Joan Thirsk has drawn