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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: March 2008

2(d) - England: Midlands

from Part I - Area surveys 1540–1840
The West Midlands displayed few signs of unusual wealth in the later middle ages, but many of the wool-producing East Midland counties figure among the more prosperous parts of fourteenth-century England. Most of the major routes between London and the northern and western provinces ran through the Midlands, creating an overland communication network of great importance, especially as the largest market for Midland products lay in London. Levels of urbanisation in the Midlands were probably low in the late medieval period. The counties of Derby and Lincoln appear to have had the thinnest urban populations and Warwick and Worcester the densest, with over double the level shown in the east. Urban growth involved the development of new towns. More new towns were created by communication developments and industry. Lincolnshire was poor, thinly inhabited and an isolated backwater before the later eighteenth-century improvements in communications brought it more firmly into the Midland economy, with some impressive industrial growth in several towns.
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The Cambridge Urban History of Britain
  • Online ISBN: 9781139053419
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