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Industrial Revolution: 1770s to 1830s

Learning and Beliefs

Scientific Advance

By Mike Jewkes

City of Glasgow 1824 By the second half of the 18th century the trade and commerce that had benefited from the new developments in science and technology provided by the Scottish Enlightenment had turned Glasgow from a small town, little larger than a village, into a commercial centre with an important textile industry. Situated in a large coalfield that provided a ready source of energy, and served by a vibrant University bursting with scientific innovation, Glasgow experienced a colossal expansion of its wealth and influence.

James Watt Indeed the University was instrumental to this process of expansion, providing a focus of scientific expertise resulting in major improvements to the town's chemical and engineering industries. In just a few short years the entrepreneurial spirit of the townsfolk, linked with further scientific advances made in its own University, created the first modern industrial city in the world. By 1811 Glasgow had been elevated to the status of second city of the British Empire.

J. B. Neilson An important addition to the development of science and technology at Glasgow was Anderson's Institution, established in 1796. It became the model for technical colleges in Britain and is now the University of Strathclyde. By 1825 one of its former students, James Beaumont Neilson (1792-1865), had invented the hot blast furnace creating a process that revolutionised the production of iron, which in turn helped to make Glasgow the centre of heavy engineering and shipbuilding in the 19th century.

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