Thursday, 4 July 2013

ILTID 4: Industrial Farming

Industrial Location Theory is Dead: Part 4

On the Land

As the towns became cities, a similar revolution was happening in the countryside. The younger generation were leaving to find their fortune in the expanding cities leaving behind an increasingly aging rural population.  The Victorian period (1837-1901) was a period of British history which was full of inventions such as radio, vacuum cleaners, the camera and the flushable toilet. The Victorians sought to solve all problems and improve efficiency and output with technology. This applied to all aspects of Victorian life: medicine, transport, waste disposal and farming.

Industrial Farming

Technology was seen as the answer to improving yields on the nation’s farms. Nature was very much treated as a system which could be understood and harnessed for increased profitability. Highly selective breeding programmes redirected evolution along a path towards bigger animals. Cattle, poultry, sheep, goats, dogs and all manner of far animals were carefully bred using techniques honed the country’s racing stables to produce animals that were more specialised. Some were bred to be bigger for their meat, others stronger for working or more aggressive for fighting, either way there was a focus on particular breed of animals being bred for a particular purpose. The history of the Holstein-Friesian (high milk producing cows from the Friesian Islands, Netherlands) breeding stock in the UK can be traced back to the importing the progeny of one famous dairy bull, Ceres 4497, in the first years of the 20th Century. (British Friesian Breeding Society)

This Stubbs painting of ‘The Lincolnshire Ox’ was painted in 1790 and is part of the collection of the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. It is of a Shorthorn prize bull, bred at the village of Gedney in Lincolnshire by John Bough in November 1782 and subsequently owned by John Gibbons of Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, a neighbouring village. The bull was 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 205½ stone: some 2,880 lbs. Having grown to this enormous size in Lincolnshire where his fame began to spread by repute, the ox was taken to London where it was put on show to paying spectators from February 1790 , first at the Lyceum in the Strand and then briefly at the Duke of Gloucester’s riding stables in Hyde Park. This royal interest in the ox earned it the title ‘The Royal Lincolnshire Ox. (Ref)

At the same time, ingenious machines were being invented to increase efficacy of farming and reduce the amount of physical labour required. 

Ingenuity in action:The Fisken Steam Cultivating Machinery as explained in its brochure used in its 1871 trials at the Marquis of Tweeddale's home farm at Yester, and at Offerton Hall, near Sunderland.
The Fisken Steam Cultivating Machinery is a good example of how over-complicated some of the solutions were becoming.  The stationary tractor engine at the bottom of the field pulls the rope which winds in on the two ‘windlass’ pulley wagons automatically dragging the plough across the field.  Letters show that the contraption was bought by several farmers and, although they came across a variety of issues with the setup and local conditions (Source). It is important to note that the chief selling point of the equipment at the time was comparing its speed and running costs with ‘old fashioned’ horses and their feed.

Just as in the cities, where factories were filtering society into a well-defined system of class based upon the type of work done and level of affluence, a similar process began to show itself in the countryside. The wealthy became wealthier at the expenses of an increasingly poor working class. The farmers who could afford to buy and maintain the new technology found themselves rising to the top of rural society. They could afford to buy more land from their profit and invest in more efficient machinery. The poorer tenant farmers found themselves being pushed into further poverty and eventually away from the land as new machines took away their livelihood.  Many land-owning farmers experimented with the new technology but either made unwise choices or else could not afford to keep up the maintenance of the new machinery. Sometimes they were just sold ‘white elephants’. Either way, their utopian vision of mechanised and highly profitable farming came crashing around them and they too had to live in abject poverty or migrate to the city in search of work. The net effect was that the wealth gap expanded and the landed farmers thrived at the expense of the poorer labourers. 

In the same way that Luddites raged against the industrial machines that were replacing the need for their skilled work, so the same protests appeared on the farms of Britain. A well-documented example of people destroying the new technology was in 1830, when farm labourers in East Anglia rose up and smashed threshing machines in what became known as the Swing Riots.

ILTID 3:Going Global

Industrial Location Theory is Dead: Part 3

Going Global

The wage cost of the domestic labour force and their increasing militancy in the 20th Century caused companies to start looking overseas for cheaper, less unionised workers. The improving cost-efficiency of transport meant that these companies could pretty much look anywhere in the world and their eyes alighted on the Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs) which at the time included both India and China. The huge workforce available meant that products could be manufactured very cheaply, vastly undercutting domestic labour costs, and imported cheaply to the UK.

Another major technological shift enabled the globalisation of manufacturing in the 1950s: containerisation. It might not seem world shattering at first, but the simple use of standard sized (2.4m x 2.4m x 3.0m) boxes for transporting cargo meant that it could be pulled by lorries or trains and transferred on and off enormous ships quickly and, consequently more cheaply. The boxes could be stacked like Lego blocks and loaded quickly. This meant that docklands like those in London’s East End, which had been the beating heart of Britain’s global trading Empire, became obsolete almost overnight. The new system meant that much bigger ships could be used and these did not fit into the old docks and the journey up the Thames Estuary wasted time. It made much more sense to use a custom built deep water port at Felixstowe. The London Dockland’s huge extended labour force became superfluous and expensive as one man in a crane could load the new cargo containers more quickly: the turn-around time for a cargo boat was slashed from days to a matter of hours.

ILTID 2: Industrial Cities

Industrial Location Theory Is Dead: Part 2

Industrial Cities

Some towns’ locations were ideally suited for certain industries to develop. Those near the coalfields tended to specialise in iron and, after importing some clever knowhow from a Henry Bessemer in the middle of the 19th Century, steel as the coal (How the Bessemer Process works). Coal was the scarcest ingredient required for the smelting process as limestone, being similarly laid down as a sedimentary deposit, is often found nearby and iron ore of varying quality is fairly ubiquitous across our isles. Towns in the Midlands which were near to coal and not far from the upland regions where sheep farming was the main economic activity, were quick to develop a thriving textiles industry. Those with excellent clay nearby tended to found a plethora of potteries.

Ports such as Liverpool and London’s Docklands which were already important conduits for goods from the expanding British Empire, grew rapidly as Britain became the most industrialised nation. The ports facilitated the export of manufactured goods from Britain around the world and the importing of new and exotic raw materials from around the world. Some of these were becoming the mainstays of not only polite society, but for everybody: namely tea and coffee. There was intense competition from our European neighbours to source new products from overseas and it was considered important to secure a constant supply for our domestic market and so the process of colonisation increased apace and the trading empire developed rapidly. Iron, textiles and other manufactured goods were taken from Britain to the Gold Coast of Africa and beyond, round the Cape of Good Hope and to Kenya, India and the Far East. Each of these places had goods which could be traded: tea, coffee, spices, silks and, unfortunately, slaves. The slaves were shipped from Western Africa back across the Atlantic to the Caribbean archipelago where they were used to set up more plantations to produce the volume of luxury goods that the increasingly wealthy urban upper classes demanded.

Industrialisation meant that sail power could be replaced by steam power and ships that were formerly constrained by the eccentricities of the capricious wind, could reliably follow a timetable. The large fleet of ships meant that the cost of transporting goods became cheaper. This meant that not just goods but people too began to move around the world more freely. The invention of steel-hulled ships meant that the seas wrecked fewer craft but also they were harder to attack. The flipside of this was of course that they were better to attack with and a fleet of steel-hulled ships soon became the vital tool in any country’s arsenal.  Also, the mass-production of precise steel and iron work meant that firearms could be made quickly and in huge numbers. They also could be made bigger, giving them a greater range and accuracy. The nation with the biggest and best guns generally won through.

Britain’s towns began to grow, attracting unskilled workers from the fields with the promise of well-paid employment and a higher quality of life: the ‘Dick Whittington’ effect. In reality, the majority of jobs were poorly paid, dangerous and had no security.  The new factory workers worked extremely long hours for very little remuneration. Many swapped rural poverty for urban poverty. There were exceptions, such as Cadbury who took a philanthropic interest in his workforce, building a whole town for them, ensuring that their families had healthcare and education. The successful factory owners became incredibly wealthy, investing their profits into other enterprises and multiplying their assets still further. They bought huge estates in the country to be away from the industrial noise and grime that funded their luxurious lifestyles.

As the technology developed throughout the early 19th Century, the skilled labour that was required was gradually replaced by cheaper, low-skilled labour.  Around 1811, in the Nottingham textile mills, a group of handloom workers took matters into their own hands and began burning and smashing the new mechanised looms that threatened their job security. The group, known as ‘Luddites’, grew in size and organisation, and over the next two years they caused significant damage to mills across the North Ridings of Yorkshire (1812) and Lancashire (1813). The army was sent in to quell the uprising and several pitched battles most noticeably at Burton's Mill in Middleton and at Westhoughton Mill, in Lancashire. Eventually, Parliament took action making machine breaking a capital crime in the Frame Breaking Act in March 1812. There was a mass trial in York in 1813 and many of the 60 men tried were hanged or deported to penal colonies. 

The fear of new technology replacing skilled jobs was not confined to the Luddite attacks on textile mills. The mechanisation was forcing change on the pattern of labour and, despite the Luddites and their ilk raging against the machines, the change was unstoppable.

In the middle of the 19th Century, the workers began to get more organised. They formed Unions which argued for a reasonable wage and fair treatment for their members. If the Unions were upset, then they withdrew their labour en masse and went on strike.  The Trade Union Movement was formalised in 1871 and the Unions continued to grow in power through to the middle of the 20th Century. 

ILTID: Historical Context

Industrial Location Theory is Dead


There has been a huge wave of technological development recently and it might well herald a new Technological Revolution that will have rewrite all of the theories of where the best site to locate a particular industry might be. In might even herald the dawn of a new class structure between those who are control the machines and those who are controlled. 

Historical Context …

I visited Ironbridge during the Easter holidays with my family and was explaining to my children the importance of this structure. It was a pivotal point in our history, not just in Britain, but as a species. Abraham Derby III’s refinement of smelting methods that coal could be converted into coke and burnt at much higher temperatures meaning that iron could be forged on a much larger scale and the bridge itself is the evidence. Standing there, built in 1779 at the forge a hundred or so yards upstream, spanning the river Severn as a monument to the exciting industrial and increasingly mechanical future. Nothing was going to be the same. It marks a GPT (General Purpose Technology) or a point at which a new technological step occurs which alters future developments. The smelting of copper could be seen as one such GPT. Everything was going to be driven by the new technology and true enough within ten years of the bridge being built entrepreneurs and inventors had found all sorts of clever ways of using iron and the subsequent development of steam power to create all sorts of structures and machines that could do work more efficiently and on a much greater scale. Bigger tools could be made that could do bigger jobs more quickly and more accurately.
The first major amelioration was to the transport infrastructure: railways began to snake their way across the British countryside linking the major cities and ports. The new, steam-powered iron horses increased the speed with which people and products could be transported.

Print showing the Mottram Viaduct on the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire railway (1861)
The canals were still useful for moving truly bulky items, but the advent of steam marked the start of their slow march towards obsolescence. Mountain ranges were tunnelled through and valleys spanned by bridges as trains began to whizz goods around the nation and the rest of the world … in vast quantities.

Monday, 1 July 2013

CE Fieldwork Guide: River Study

  • Rivers should change along their course from the source where they start to their mouth where they run into the sea.
  • The route of the river is known as its long profile.
  • Along the long profile (heading towards the mouth) the following changes should occur:
    • The amount of water flowing in the river (or discharge) should increase.
    • This often means that the Cross-Sectional Area (CSA) increases too: but be careful the river can be narrow but deep, or shallow but wide!
    • The stones on the bottom of the river, or the river’s bed load, should get smaller and rounder as you approach the mouth.



w = width
(measured perpendicular, at 90°, to the bank)

d = average depth
(measure the depth across where you measured the width at regular intervals and take an average)

CSA = Cross Sectional Area

v = stream velocity
(the speed that the water is travelling measured in metres per second - m/s; can be measured using a flowmeter or by timing a float as it travels a fixed distance a number of times and taking the average)

D = Discharge
(volume of water flowing in the channel; measured in cumecs or cubic metres per second – m3/s)

Some helpful formulae:

CSA = w x d

D = CSA x v


1. Hypothesis

This section should contain one or two sentences only.  These should be clear statements that you will be able to prove or disprove by carrying out the fieldwork.


Example: You could investigate how the river's Cross -Sectional Area, Discharge, Load, water quality Changes down stream. 


If you chose discharge, then your hypothesis might read ..

"The rivers discharge will increase along the rivers long profile"

 This can be proved to be true or false using the data you collect.

 2.  Method

This section should be no more than 100 words.


  • What equipment did you use? 
  • Describe how you collected the data.
    • How did you measure the river's width, depth and velocity? 
    • Why not try and use diagrams to help you ...


Example: Measuring the depth ...


...only neater !!!!!


  • Where did you collect the data?
    • Draw a location map and show which points along the river you collected data from.
    • Highlight any relevant local features on your map that might influence your data (ponds, dams, weirs, etc.)


3.  Results
  • This section should contain graphs that show information that is relevant to your hypothesis.

Example: If you are looking at how discharge changes from the source to the mouth ...

  • A set of graphs showing the cross-sections of each site (remember to keep the scales the same!)
  • A graph showing the discharge at each site.
  • Maybe a set of annotated photographs to show what the river looked like at each site: what its bed load and valley look like. (You will need one for Site 1 where there was no water!)


4.  Analysis

  • This is the most important part of the project!
  • Describe what each of your graphs show referring to the hypothesis statement:  Do they help to show that the statement is true or false?
  • If there are any unusual or any unexpected results on your graphs, highlight them and try to provide an explanation for these anomalies (unusual results).

5.  Conclusion and Evaluation

  • Have you proved you hypothesis to be true or false?  
  • How could you have made the results fairer? You should write about ...
  • The amount of data that you collected (remember the more that you collect, the fairer the results).
  • The accuracy of the data.  How could you have made the data collection more accurate and fairer?
  • Where you collected the data from. Would you have chosen the sites that were measured differently?  Why?
  • This section should be no more than 400 words.

6.  Appendix
  • This section should contain any information that you want to include in the write up but it is not appropriate to put it into the main project.
  • This section should include …
    • A neat copy of your raw data (see river data)
    • A bibliography.  A list of books and websites that you have used and referred to in your writing.
    • Any other relevant pieces of information.

CE Fieldwork Guide: Heat Islands

  • A heat island is an area over which the air is warmer than the surrounding area.
  • The reason for this difference is generally down to a chnage in land use.
  • Urban areas tend to absorb for incoming radiation from the sun and re-emit it as heat: this is due to the dark surfaces and building materials.
  • Heat islands are best measured in the late afternoon or early evening when the ground has had time to be heated and for it to heat the air above.
  • Wind mixes the air and prevents heat islands forming.

Title: Is there a Heat Island in Settlement ‘X’?


A sentence that can be proven to be true or false:  such as …

1.   Settlement ‘X’ has a ‘heat island’

2.   Air temperature variations around the grounds in Settlement ‘X’ are due to differences in ground cover.

Method: (about 200 words)

What data did you collect and how?

  • Use annotated diagrams and photographs wherever possible in your explanation.
Where did you collect your data? You must include a location map in your project! 

Possible data that you might want to collect:
  • air temperature (thermometer): best held at a fixed distance from the ground away from the body and not by the bulb!
  • ground colour: This can be done by a simple 5 point scale where 1 is white and 5 is black; the darker the surface the higher the score OR you could be clever and use a luxmeter app on your iPad/smartphone
  • Number of storeys:  urban areas generally get taller as you approach the centre as the value of the land is higher.
  • Distance from the centre: if you can locate a point which is the centre of your town or village, then temperature should decrease with distrance from this point.
  • Ground cover: roads and pavements tend to absorb and re-emit more energy than vegetated areas.
There are others depending upon where you want to do your study!
Results: (very little writing)

Graphs and maps showing your data: (raw data should be put in the appendices at the end of the write-up.  You could use the following methods:

  • An isotherm map of the Settlement ‘X’ area (maybe on tracing paper over a base map/aerial photo: perhaps over a ‘land cover’ map)
  • Graphs to show:
    • All of the data stacked up for each site (temperature, land cover, ground colour, wind speed, altitude (from OS map or altimeter on GPS), number of storeys the buildings have, distance from the nearest building (only an idea!)
    • Scattergraphs comparing temperature with a selection of variables to see if there is a relationship.
    • A transect showing temperature and how many buildings there are.

Analysis: (about 300 words)

This section is very important as it shows the examiner how much geography you understand.

  • Describe what your graphs and maps show in the results section.

  • Are there any anomalies (odd readings) in your data?Can you explain them?


Conclusion and Evaluation: (about 200 words)

  • Is your hypothesis true or false?
  • How could the data collection have been done more accurately?
  • What other data could have been collected to test the hypothesis better?

  • Think about time, volume of data, equipment and types of data collected.