An Introduction to the Industrial Revolution in Britain Course

This online course comprises of five consecutive sessions and is designed especially for family historians. 

The Industrial Revolution in Britain changed the world forever, but why did it occur in Britain first? In this course, we examine why the Industrial Revolution happened in Britain, and whether it really was a “Revolution”. We will look at some of the individuals and inventions who made the Industrial Revolution. We examine how life was experienced by the factory workers and the impact upon their health. Session four looks at how the Trades Unions began and how the first welfare systems started (and how to find evidence of them). Alongside this, we will consider the experiences of women in the workplace and how this changed over time. Finally, in week five, we explore how the Industrial Revolution can be researched by family historians. And how we can trace and better understand how our ancestors lived and worked during this period of great change.

Course Outline

Week 1: Why the Industrial Revolution happened in Britain and was it really a ‘Revolution’ ?
Week 2: The People who made the British Industrial Revolution: Engineers and Invention
Week 3: Life in the Industrial Revolution: Slums and Sickness
Week 4: Factory Life: Trades Unions, Women and Welfare
Week 5: The Industrial Revolution for Family Historians

Course sessions are: Fridays June 18th & 25th, July 2nd, 9th & 16th 

All sessions run: 2 – 3.45pm.  

Tickets cost £50 (society members £45). Pre-booking is required because full joining instructions will be emailed in advance. Bookings, therefore, close one day before the event.

Technology requirements

To be able to join in this workshop, you will need a computer device from which you can access your emails. This device needs to have speakers and also ideally a microphone and webcam.  First-time users of Zoom, will be asked to download a small piece of software. This will be sent to you in advance. Technical help is available for those who need further assistance, please contact  

To book, scroll down.

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  • Richard Marks
    Richard Marks

    Richard Marks is a published historian based in Berkshire who specialises in military, industrial and railway history. His current areas of research are the aircraft and systems of the RAF, industrial development in the Victorian period, and the development of the railway and canal systems in Britain in the mid to late 19th Century. Richard is also currently researching a PhD in industrial history.

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