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Rural Responses to Industrialization

The North Yorkshire Pennines 1790-1914

Christine Hallas

This fascinating book brings fresh insight to the debate on the role of the countryside in the industrialization process. By providing an integrated study of an upland area, the North Yorkshire Pennines, the study is able to address two key issues concerning the countryside: how well it responded to the challenge of industrialization and urbanization and how successful it was in surviving in an increasingly industrial country. By using previously unexploited private papers in conjunction with national sources, the author is uniquely able to demonstrate the mechanisms of rural response. Wensleydale and Swaledale are an ideal area to study as they are contiguous and superficially similar and yet, as this book shows, enjoyed or endured very different experiences. This book challenges many of the traditional views about the role of the countryside. By measuring the wealth of the two dales it demonstrates how landownership and farmholding patterns coupled with developing dairy and livestock production enabled some communities to retain their vitality while successfully responding to unprecedented change. It shows how pre-industrial craft occupations and a by-employment textile industry survived for most of the period and how the existence of a volatile mining industry could both enhance and threaten that response. Finally the book shows how transport and migration were key facilitators in the process of response.