Before the Industrial Revolution the main source of transport was travelling by boat on sea. This way of travelling had two main disadvantages. One was the salt seawater ruined the goods and the other was privateers. They were like pirates that stole goods from the boats. This was the only way to travel in those times and was much cheaper. The were other sources of travelling before the industrial revolution such as be horse and carriage, by foot, wagon and coach pulled by horses. The roads were dusty, uneven and bumpy so good were still ruined.
Towards the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century more than half the population worked on land as farmers or in a trade such as milling as it was owned by rich aristocrats (members of the highest class in society) rented it to farmers which in turn had labourers to work for them. Farming was the main source of work and provided families with homes and stable work. The improvement of farming methods meant more food was produced and people were healthy they also had a higher resistance to infection. With the invention of crop rotation and because of the seed drill, farming became much easier which meant there was more money for the landowners therefore it could be sold cheaply and more profit could be made. Another idea introduced to farming was the crop rotation.
Land was split in to quarters and 4 different crops were grown the following year after the harvest season the crops were rotated around and planted in a different quarter. Farmers had realised that the soil was more fertile and crops had more a chance of growing and surviving. It wasn’t just farming that improved the milling also improved. Machines that could spin spindles more quickly. The handloom was replaced by flying shuttle. Kay invented the flying shuttle in 1733. This machine made wider cloth and no longer required an assistant to help and it could also work much faster. Cotton, wool and steel was now a part of the market, which in turn had more jobs for people. This change did not only affect people who were working but also affected the lives of people who were leading ordinary lives. 7% of people were now unmarried, which in turn meant more people were working.
However with every god thing there is a downfall to every good thing. The machine that spun yarn needed 5-6 spinners to work on it but now only needed 4 spinners. This meant unemployment for some.
Britain produced many silk and wool goods, but the growth of the empire saw the growth of a new cotton industry. This was the first industry to go over to mass production. Cotton was imported from India and spun into cloth and now it took 4 spinners to weave it.
Transport improved from the 1660’s and journeys took less time. For instance before a journey to Manchester from London took 4 days, then it took 2 days and by 1836 it took 29 hours. As the movement of goods became quicker the more money was saved.
This was one reason why transport had to be improved goods reached their destination quicker than usual and more money was saved. Also goods such as food would last a little longer as the travelling time decreased. Another source of transport now discovered was by canal.
Great effort, time and money were spent on digging out canals to link towns and mines to factories. Canals were built out of four main rivers they were Thames, Mersey, Trent, and Severn. These canals provided routes allowing goods and raw materials such as coal and iron to be carried from the mines to the factories. As a result of the quick deliveries goods became cheaper. Food was transported easily and quickly to feed the growing population of Britain. As the goods could travel a further distance cheaply and reliably markets went national instead of being local. Letters, important documents and orders for goods now travelled by canal as it was cheaper and again travelled quickly.
The growing population, more raw materials were being discovered, so a need for quick transport was needed. The investment in canals was the best improvement to Britain. Goods were delivered quicker and cheaper and took less time. It was good because as the population grew more food was needed and more clothes were needed to. So the transport system had to be quicker. If it wasn’t raw materials would pile up and many of it destroyed.