Industry, by which is meant man’s efforts to turn primary products into manufactured articles, is as old as his terrestrial existence, but only in the eighteenth century did the word come to mean the systematic organisation of labour for this purpose. The period from 1700 to 1900 witnessed the transformation of the British landscape on a scale never before experienced, creating scenes of horrifying grandeur and indescribable squalor which equally enthralled and disgusted those who recorded their impres-sions in verbal or graphic form. We can deplore the visual outcome of past industrial activity, but we cannot ignore it. Industry affected the development of many now seemingly rural areas, and often explains anomalies in the landscape: the traveller through east Leicestershire’s hunting country little suspects that the elevation of the road above the surrounding fields was caused by nineteenth-century ironstone quarrying, whose extent can only be determined by studying early editions of large-scale Ordnance Survey maps.
The comparatively late date of this area of landscape history means that its students have a rich store both of visual evidence and of documentary sources to assist them in their efforts to recreate past industrial landscapes. Industrial archaeology is now a familiar term but has tended to be associated with the study and preservation of industrial monuments for their own sake. However, as in mainstream archaeology, artefacts are more and more being regarded as pointers to the past, tangible elements which form the basis for the recreation of past systems and landscapes. They prompt the industrial archaeologist to look around him for traces of sources of raw materials, water supplies, accommodation for the workforce and transport systems which together comprise an industrial landscape. Where he has the advantage over the mainstream archaeologist is that his field evidence can