Textile production

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    British industries in the early 1700s were generally small scale and unsophisticated. Most textile production, for example, was centred on small workshops or in the homes of spinners, weavers and dyers: literally a ‘cottage industry’ that involved thousands of individual manufacturers. Such small-scale production was also a feature of most other industries, with different regions specializing in different products: metal production in the Midlands, for example, and coal mining in the North-East. This image shows workers preparing flax in a cottage industry. Later in the century, the emergence of the new industrial technologies, such as James Hargreaves’ ‘spinning jenny’, would revolutionise the way that items such as textiles were produced.

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