Imágenes de páginas

Reference Division


An Agency of the British Government
NEW YORK, N.Y. 10022

This material is filed with the Department of Justice, where the required registration
statement of B.I.S. under 56 Stat. 248-258 as an agency of the British Government
is available for inspection. Registration does not imply approval of this material by the
United States Government.

Prepared by
November 1964 Quote No. R.F.P. 5628/64 Classification 1.5(e)


Industry in Britain:
and Production

The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to become highly industrialised, and today 14 people work in mining, manufacturing and building for every 1 in agriculture. It is the world's third largest exporter of manufactured goods, and the range of its industrial manufactures reflects its position as one of the most important workshops of the world.


The factors that have influenced the location of industry in Britain are many and various. During the rapid industrialisation of the nineteenth century one of the most important influences was the proximity of coal, the major source of power, particularly when it was associated with ease of access to other raw materials such as iron ore in the West Midlands and salt (for chemicals) in Cheshire, and to the coast, which in turn offered easy access to imported raw materials and a quick outlet for exports. In the course of the past hundred years, the pull exercised by coal has been progressively weakened as improved means of communication and an alternative source of power in electricity have been developed and have enabled advantage to be taken of other sites—for example, those near to big consumer markets and plentiful supplies of labour. The main areas of industrial concentration are still, with one exception (London), the areas which saw the beginning of Britain's industrial greatness and which, with two exceptions (London and Belfast), are on or near coalfields; but many smaller and more widely dispersed centres of industry have grown up, notably in southern England.

During the inter-war period there was a tendency for the 'new' industries, such as those manufacturing motor vehicles, electrical goods and rubber products, to develop rapidly in the south (especially in and around Greater London) and in the Midlands. On the other hand, this period was one of acute depression and mass unemployment for the older industrial areas which specialised in the great staple industries-coalmining, steel, shipbuilding, marine engineering and cotton manufacture. These conditions prompted official action aimed at encouraging the development and diversification of industry in the areas where labour and other unused resources are to be found and discouraging further industrialisation in congested areas.

A brief description follows of the location of British industry, grouped according to broad geographical areas.

Greater London and the South-eastern Region

London, situated at the head of ocean navigation on the Thames estuary, is Britain's capital and main communication centre, probably still the world's most important financial centre, one of the world's three largest cities (with Tokyo and New York) and one of the world's three largest ports (with New York and Rotterdam). Greater London, including the urbanised fringe areas within 40 to 45 miles of Charing Cross, has a working population of over five million, of whom nearly a half are in manufacturing industry. London is the main centre in Britain of the clothing and food and drink industries, of printing, of cinema film production, and of the manufacture of furniture, materials for the arts, precision instruments and many other specialised products. Small firms predominate in many of these industries and the average size of manufacturing firms (particularly in the County of London) is well below the national average. London, especially its outer ring, is also an important area for light engineering, chemicals and consumer goods and has some heavy engineering plants and a number of important research establishments. Towards the periphery of the London conurbation and in the new urban development outside it, industry, particularly the electronics and a variety of consumer goods industries, has been expanding rapidly; some of the largest aircraft plants are in these areas as well as the factories, at Dagenham, Luton and Dunstable, of two of the five main motor vehicle manufacturers. Along the lower Thames and Medway estuaries there are large oil refineries as well as shipyards and a variety of other engineering works.

The South Coast

The Channel coast has been much developed for tourist traffic and as a place for retirement. A great part of the coast eastwards from Bournemouth consists of built-up areas, which from Brighton (population 163,000) eastwards are partly dormitories for people working in London. Portsmouth (225,000) is a naval port and has some shipbuilding and general manufactures. Southampton (207,000) is the largest port in Britain for ocean-going liners and its industries include ship repairing, oil refining and synthetic rubber. Dover, Folkestone and Newhaven are packet ports.

South-west England

The coasts of Devon and Cornwall have a large tourist trade and there is considerable tourism through much of the region; there are also some prosperous retirement areas. Bristol, the largest city (434,000), is a leading port and commercial centre with aircraft, aero-engines, tobacco, food processing, paper, printing and other industries. Plymouth (204,000) is a large naval port and also has a number of industries. Gloucester (71,000) originally an inland port and commercial town, Cheltenham (74,000), originally a resort town, and the area between and adjacent to them produce a variety of manufactures, including aircraft engines, instruments and accessories and the well-known West of England cloth. Swindon (96,000) has railway and general engineering works. Bath (83,000), originally a resort town and the centre of an agricultural district, has food manufactures and engineering trades, including cranes and agricultural implements.

East Anglia and Lincolnshire

Besides being one of the most productive agricultural regions, the eastern counties possess some sizeable towns. Ipswich (119,000) and Grantham (20,000) are notable for agricultural machinery and implements, and Norwich (119,000)

for footwear and food manufacture. Food canning and freezing, based mainly on locally grown produce, have developed rapidly. Scunthorpe (69,000) in Lincolnshire, is an important steel-making centre, and the ports of Grimsby (96,000) and Yarmouth (53,000) have extensive fish processing plants.


The main industrial area of the Midlands consists of the great conurbation centred on Birmingham and Wolverhampton (which includes portions of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire) where there is a wide variety of industry, including notably the manufacture of metals, electrical and engineering products of all kinds, and also jewellery, rubber products and domestic metalware. The smaller conurbation of North Staffordshire, centred on Stoke-on-Trent (266,000), is devoted chiefly to the manufacture of pottery and china and to coalmining. The largest concentrations of motor vehicle manufacture in the United Kingdom are situated in the Midlands, at Coventry (314,000) and Birmingham (1,116,000) and, farther to the south, at Cowley near Oxford (107,000).

Industrial cities and towns lying outside the main industrial area include Leicester (270,000) noted for clothing (including hosiery and knitwear), boots and shoes and machinery for making these products; Derby (132,000), noted for general engineering and aero-engines; Nottingham (315,000), hosiery, a variety of engineering, lace, pharmaceutical products, tobacco; Rugby (54,000), electrical engineering; Northampton (105,000), footwear, engineering; and Kidderminster (43,000), carpets. Corby (41,000) in Northamptonshire, has a steel industry originally based on local deposits of iron ore, and at Peterborough (64,000) there are several large engineering works. The richest coalfield in Britain, with he highest output per man, lies in the north-west of the area and continues into Yorkshire.


Manchester (655,000) is the commercial hub of the cotton and man-made fibre textiles industries, a very important financial and commercial centre and a major port. It is also one of the chief centres for electrical and heavy engineering and the production of machine tools, petro-chemicals, dyestuffs, and pharmaceutical goods, while it has a wide range of other manufactures. Most of the cotton and other yarns are spun in Bolton (160,000), Oldham (114,000), and Rochdale (86,000), and at Stockport (in Cheshire) (143,000); farther to the north lie the weaving towns of Burnley (81,000), Nelson (32,000), Blackburn (105,000), Accrington (39,000) and Darwen (29,000); Preston (112,000) and Bury (62,000) both have spinning and weaving plants. Engineering industries, notably the manufacture of printing, papermaking, textile and electrical machinery and commercial vehicles are, however, more important to the area than cotton, which has been declining for some years. The Lancashire coalfield also lies in the Manchester-Wigan area.

The Manchester Ship Canal, which carries a substantial volume of overseas trade, links Manchester with Merseyside. It passes through the important industrial towns of Warrington (76,000) with its metal industries (such as wire-drawing), Widnes (54,000) with its chemicals, and Ellesmere Port (47,000) with its oil refinery installations, before reaching the Mersey estuary. St. Helens (107,000) to the north of the canal, is famous for glass manufacture. Liverpool (740,000) is the second port of Britain, a great commercial and insurance centre and, after London, the greatest centre for processing imported foodstuffs and raw materials, being noted especially for flour milling, soap manufacture, sugar refining and rubber products. Among its older industries is ship repairing; shipbuilding is a major industry across the river at Birkenhead (144,000). Many new industries, including electrical engineering, the manufacture of other heavy industrial equipment and, more recently, motor vehicle manufacture, have been established in the Liverpool area, particularly on industrial estates. Barrow (65,000) in the north-west of the county, is a well-known shipbuilding and marine engineering area.


Most of the county's industry is located in the West Riding, where about 90 per cent of the United Kingdom's worsted industry and the greater proportion of its woollen industry are found. Bradford (297,000) is the commercial centre of the wool trade and important for worsted; Morley (42,000) and Leeds (514,000) have specialised in cheaper cloths, and Batley (40,000), Dewsbury (54,000) and Spenborough (37,000) in heavy cloth, but their production is becoming more diversified. Huddersfield (132,000) has a reputation for fine woollens and worsteds and Halifax (96,000) for carpets. In most of the larger centres of the wool industry a variety of engineering products are manufactured. Leeds, the commercial capital of the area, has a large ready-made clothing industry and important engineering plants. Farther south is the heavy engineering centre of Sheffield (495,000), famous for its high quality steels, cutlery and tools. The area's extensive coalfields provide about one-fifth of Britain's coal. York (104,000) noted for chocolates and confectionery manufacture and with important railway workshops, and Hull (301,000), one of the world's largest fishing ports and with many manufacturing industries, including engineering, vegetable oil processing, paints and sawmilling, are other important industrial towns in Yorkshire.

Northern England

The greater part of this region (Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland, Durham and the East Riding of Yorkshire) is an area of mountains, lakes and moors and is relatively thinly populated. Most of its population of 3.2 million is concentrated in the coastal strip about 20 miles deep and 45 miles long, from the coalfields north of the Tyne to the south bank of the Tees. Within this area the main centres are Tyneside (935,000), including Newcastle upon Tyne (273,000), Gateshead, Tynemouth, South Shields, Wallsend and Jarrow; and Tees-side (545,000), including Middlesbrough (158,000) and West Hartlepool. Other large towns are Sunderland (190,000) and Darlington (84,000).

The whole region is more dependent than other parts of England on traditional heavy industries, notably coalmining, iron and steel manufacture, ship-building and repairing and chemicals, which together employ nearly a third of the male workers. This proportion has been falling steadily as the result of the establishment of industrial estates and other Government measures to attract new types of enterprise and promote the diversification of industry. A new and comprehensive plan for north-east England, to accelerate industrial growth and diversification and the modernisation of the whole environment, was announced by the previous Government and is now being implemented. Industries in the area include those making mining and other machinery, rolling-mill plant, earth-moving equipment, machine tools, ropes, glass, clothing and scientific instruments.

« AnteriorContinuar »