Technology and production

It is acknowledged that most industrial / craft-working activity across the region prior to the late 17th century followed Medieval traditions, with little indication of significant technological advancement being employed. Such activity was almost certainly widespread, with distribution networks being largely local, unless connected to the sea. The supply of raw materials for local industry was a key consideration, and the gradual growth of extractive industries, including those concerned with gaining energy minerals (coal), metals, bulk minerals (stone, aggregates, lime, sand), and other industrial minerals (clays, evaporates), during the later Post-Medieval period was paramount to subsequent industrialisation. After c 1650-1700, almost every village had one or more quarries, where resources were available (Newman 2016), although industrial enterprises were for the most part small concerns and, in broad terms, not concentrated in specific locations. The situation changed subsequently with market growth, capital investment and improved transport infrastructure, initially from river navigations and, from the mid-18th century, the introduction of canals.

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