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The neglected legacy of Lancashire cotton: industrial clusters and the UK outdoor trade, 1960-1990

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

Region was crucial in Britain’s industrial revolution and by 1830, Lancashire south of the Ribble, had emerged as a highly sophisticated local economy including manufacturing, commerce, finance, transport, mining, machine making and machine tools. Through the nineteenth century, sustained export market growth encouraged an unprecedented level of both vertical and, more especially, spatial specialisation and Lancashire evolved into Marshall’s classic industrial district. An industrial district can be defined as a concentrated agglomeration of interrelated firms, which are both economically and socially embedded in a region. Economies tend to be external to the firm and in Lancashire, yarn, cloth and market specialisms were underpinned by distinctive machine making in each town. In addition, Manchester’s commercial sector acted as a conduit for intermediate goods and services, while numerous shipping houses linked manufacturers with their diverse markets, though arguably separated them from their customers.