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Adam Smith revisited: coal and the location of the woollen manufacture in England before mechanization, c. 1500-1820

Author

Listed:
  • Keith Sugden

    () (University of Cambridge)

  • Sebastian A.J. Keibek

    ()

  • Leigh Shaw-Taylor

    () (University of Cambridge)

Abstract

This study uses male occupational data abstracted from the Court of Common Pleas to determine the location of the English woollen manufacturing industry circa 1500, and from county probate records to track temporal change 1601-1801. It shows that the onset of de- industrialization in textile counties in southern England occurred toward the end of the seventeenth century when the industry began to shift to the West Riding of Yorkshire. Occupations of fathers recorded in Anglican baptism registers 1813-20 indicate that the industry relocated to a relatively small number of places. This study establishes a clear association between these places and the proximity of water and the coalfields. This relationship concurs with the views of Adam Smith to show that coal was important to the woollen manufacture decades before the mechanization of spinning and weaving and the use of steam power.

Suggested Citation

  • Keith Sugden & Sebastian A.J. Keibek & Leigh Shaw-Taylor, "undated". "Adam Smith revisited: coal and the location of the woollen manufacture in England before mechanization, c. 1500-1820," Working Papers 33, Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cmh:wpaper:33
    as

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    File URL: http://www.econsoc.hist.cam.ac.uk/docs/CWPESHnumber33Sept2018.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Broadberry,Stephen & Campbell,Bruce M. S. & Klein,Alexander & Overton,Mark & van Leeuwen,Bas, 2015. "British Economic Growth, 1270–1870," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107070783, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Woollen cloth manufacture; location; timing; coal; water;

    JEL classification:

    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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