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Video Summary: 170 years of industrial change in England and Wales

Released: 05 June 2013

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Welcome to this video looking at 170 years of industrial changes in England and Wales.

First, using these graphs, we will look at the percentage of the workforce that work in each of the main industries in 1841 and 2011. As we can see, in 1841, 36% worked in manufacturing, 33% worked in services and 22% worked in agriculture and fishing. However, in 2011, the majority of the workforce, 81%, worked in services. Manufacturing and agriculture and fishing now account for just 9% and 1% respectively.

Moving down we can use this new graph to look at the percentage of the workforce that work in each industry over the period from 1841 to 2011, the data from 1841 to 1911 covers Great Britain and from 1921 to 2011 England and Wales. Looking at agriculture and fishing over the period, over one in five worked in this industry in 1841. At every Census, that being every decade from 1841, the percentage of people working in agriculture and fishing has declined, and by 2011, less than 1 in 100 people in work were employed in this industry.

As shown earlier, in 1841, most people worked in manufacturing, closely followed by services. By 1881, the percentage of workers in services overtook those working in manufacture. From 1961, the gap between services and manufacturing started to widen at a faster rate than since 1881. By 2011, over 8 in every 10 workers were in the service industry with less than 1 in 10 in manufacturing.

Moving out we will now look at what developments have had an impact on the main industries in England and Wales. In 1801 the steam locomotive was introduced which aided the industrial revolution as it was used to propel railway locomotives, ships and road vehicles, changing the distribution of workers and goods. In 1837 the electric telegraph was developed which was used in the building of railways networks as communications could be easily relayed.

Next in 1856, there was the development of the Bessemer process which was the first method known for mass producing steel from molten pig-iron. This decreased costs and increased the scale and speed of production.
In 1876 there was the patent for liquefying gas, which would become part of the basic refrigeration technology. This meant food could be transported and stored for longer. 1884, saw the development of the steam turbine, and its invention made cheap and plentiful electricity possible.
1902 saw the Education Act passed. The importance of education was expanding around the world and Great Britain needed to keep up. 1928 was the year that penicillin was discovered, which provided safe and effective treatment for infectious diseases and changed the face of modern healthcare.
Nuclear power was first produced at Calder Hall in 1956 which was able to produce electricity in commercial quantities. In 1971 the first microprocessor was created, which would become the heartbeat of all modern day computers. Their invention has allowed low-cost computers to be created which has transformed the way many people work.
Lastly in 1989, the World Wide Web was created allowed businesses to instantaneously by connected to customers and other businesses, making them increasingly global.

Moving back out, we will now look at industry in England and Wales, and focus on 2011. The population of England and Wales in 2011 was 56.1 million, of which, 41.1 million were aged 16-74 with 26.5million of them working.

Looking at the gender breakdown for industries in 2011 we can see that 92% of working women were employed in the service industry compared to 71% of men. Moving down we can see the particular jobs that men and women worked in the service industry, and as we can see, 42% of females worked in public administration, education and health.

Lastly we will look at the distribution of men and women across these nine industries. As we can see, public administration, education and health, as well as, other services are the only industry groups for which there are more women working than men. Therefore there are more men than women in 7 of the 9 industry groups. This is most prominent in the construction industry where almost 9 out of 10 people in this industry are male.
That was 170 years of industrial change across England and Wales.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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