The industrial landscape: past, present and future
Images of industry
This book has been concerned with the different facets of the industrial landscape in the two centuries between 1700 and 1900. Industrial activity was widespread during this period and until the second half of the nineteenth century was integrated with, rather than superimposed on, the landscape. The attitudes of contemporaries to the vast changes that were taking place are recorded in the diaries of many travellers throughout Great Britain during the eighteenth and, more especially, the nineteenth centuries. These were mainly members of the lesser gentry, clergymen and professional people who emulated their betters on the ‘grand tour’ by exploring the sights to be seen in their own country. In the growing roman-ticism of the late eighteenth century, they viewed waterfalls, mountains and ruins but could not fail to be impressed by the increasing industrial activity they found. Some came deliberately to seek it out. These were the so-called ‘industrial spies’ from Europe, who came to discover the secrets of Britain’s early industrialisation. Their numbers included men with specialist knowledge of the metallurgical industries, like the Swedish travellers Svedenstierna, Schroderstierna and Triewald and the Frenchmen Gabriel Jars, Le Turc, Moissenet and de la Houlière. 1 Their accounts were largely factual and some, like Jars and Moissenet, made meticulous drawings of the equipment they saw. Others went so far as to smuggle out dismantled machines so that they could be copied in their home countries.
Many English travellers were equally interested in the novel processes which they witnessed, from Defoe in the early eighteenth century to semi-official reporters like Arthur Young and John Farey later on, together with romantically-minded clergymen like the Reverend Richard Warner and