Sir Tony Wrigley's classic regional study of industrial development and demographic change in the Austrasian coalfield belt (stretching from Pas-De-Calais in the West to the Ruhr in the East) was first published in 1959. Its first part deals with the circumstances which encouraged more rapid industrial growth in some areas while inhibiting in others, and with the relationship between regional economic growth and the increase of industrial population. The second part deals with the demographic history of the coalfield industrial areas; their relation to the sociology of those areas; and the sources of the population growth which took place in them. In both parts the discussion centres on the contrast between the coalfield industrial areas and the three national units of France, Belgium and Germany on the one hand; and on the other on the contrasts which existed within the coalfield industrial areas themselves. Industrial Growth and Population Change deliberately strays across the conventional boundaries of social scientific analysis, embracing economic history, historical geography, demography and sociology. The underlying thesis is that economic historians have tended too readily to suppose that the national entity is the appropriate unit of study. Regional or local analysis is sometimes equally or more revealing about the nature of major changes taking place and the reasons for them.
Preface; Part I. Industrial Growth and Population Change: 1. The argument; 2. The position in 1850; 3. The coal resources of the Austrasian field; 4. The development of coal production; 5. Regional industrial growth and its relation to population changes; Part II. Regional Demographic Patterns and Changes: 6. Mortality; 7. Fertility; Note on statistical sourcees; Index; Maps.