Skip to main content
Energy and the English Industrial Revolution
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 68
  • Cited by
    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    McDermott, Karl A. 2018. It Is Time to Change How We Think about Electricity: Getting the Consumer Involved. Journal of Consumer Affairs, Vol. 52, Issue. 2, p. 495.

    Sorkhabi, Rasoul 2018. Sir Thomas Boverton Redwood (1846–1919): a watershed in the British oil industry. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, Vol. 465, Issue. 1, p. 423.

    Henriques, Sofia Teives and Warde, Paul 2018. Fuelling the English breakfast: hidden energy flows in the Anglo-Danish trade 1870–1913. Regional Environmental Change, Vol. 18, Issue. 4, p. 965.

    Andersson, David Emanuel and Andersson, Åke E. 2018. Phase transitions as a cause of economic development. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, p. 0308518X1880311.

    Lintsen, Harry 2018. Well-being, Sustainability and Social Development. p. 103.

    Morehart, Christopher T. Millhauser, John K. and Juarez, Santiago 2018. 1 Archaeologies of Political Ecology - Genealogies, Problems, and Orientations. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association, Vol. 29, Issue. 1, p. 5.

    Pearson, Peter J. G. 2018. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. p. 3674.

    Moore, Jason W. 2018. The Capitalocene Part II: accumulation by appropriation and the centrality of unpaid work/energy. The Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 45, Issue. 2, p. 237.

    Nerbas, Donald 2018. Empire, Colonial Enterprise, and Speculation: Cape Breton’s Coal Boom of the 1860s. The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Vol. 46, Issue. 6, p. 1067.

    Fukuhara, Ryuichi 2018. The Kyoto Manifesto for Global Economics. p. 35.

    Lindmark, Magnus and Olsson Spjut, Fredrik 2018. From organic to fossil and in-between: new estimates of energy consumption in the Swedish manufacturing industry during 1800–1913. Scandinavian Economic History Review, Vol. 66, Issue. 1, p. 18.

    Labussière, Olivier and Nadaï, Alain 2018. Energy Transitions. p. 277.

    Ranestad, Kristin 2018. Knowledge-Based Growth in Natural Resource Intensive Economies. p. 3.

    Stern, David I. 2018. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. p. 3697.

    Khan, B. Zorina 2018. Human capital, knowledge and economic development: evidence from the British Industrial Revolution, 1750–1930. Cliometrica, Vol. 12, Issue. 2, p. 313.

    Gokmenoglu, Korhan and Kaakeh, Mohamad 2018. Causal Relationship between Nuclear Energy Consumption and Economic Growth: Case of Spain. Strategic Planning for Energy and the Environment, Vol. 37, Issue. 3, p. 58.

    Burger, Oskar and Delong, John P. 2018. The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. p. 1.

    Fedman, David 2018. The Ondol Problem and the Politics of Forest Conservation in Colonial Korea. Journal of Korean Studies, Vol. 23, Issue. 1, p. 25.

    Pangborn, Matthew 2018. The Zombie Apocalypse Is a Failed Energy Transition. The Journal of American Culture,

    Nevalainen, Terttu Palander-Collin, Minna and Säily, Tanja 2018. Patterns of Change in 18th-century English. Vol. 8, Issue. ,

  • Export citation
  • Recommend to librarian
  • Recommend this book

    Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

    Energy and the English Industrial Revolution
    • Online ISBN: 9780511779619
    • Book DOI:
    Please enter your name
    Please enter a valid email address
    Who would you like to send this to *
  • Buy the print book

Book description

The industrial revolution transformed the productive power of societies. It did so by vastly increasing the individual productivity, thus delivering whole populations from poverty. In this new account by one of the world's acknowledged authorities the central issue is not simply how the revolution began but still more why it did not quickly end. The answer lay in the use of a new source of energy. Pre-industrial societies had access only to very limited energy supplies. As long as mechanical energy came principally from human or animal muscle and heat energy from wood, the maximum attainable level of productivity was bound to be low. Exploitation of a new source of energy in the form of coal provided an escape route from the constraints of an organic economy but also brought novel dangers. Since this happened first in England, its experience has a special fascination, though other countries rapidly followed suit.


'This book has changed the way I see the world. Smart, engaging and beautifully written, Wrigley’s study of the Industrial Revolution casts a fascinating light on current energy questions. If you want to understand how our dependency on fossil fuels began and what we might do to escape it, you must read this book.'

George Monbiot

'Here, Tony Wrigley develops the central themes that have characterized his distinctive contribution to the economic transformation of England. There is no better account of the role that the energy revolution played in the escape from the constraints of the Malthusian pre-industrial economy.'

Nicholas Crafts - University of Warwick

'Tony Wrigley is one of the true Grand Men of the economic history profession. In this book he analyzes in depth the role of energy supplies in the emergence of modern economic growth and thus strikes a fascinating and most timely link between economic history and contemporary issues of energy and environment. Energy economics are of central importance to any study of economic change, especially when supported by the breadth of the learning underlying this book.'

Joel Mokyr - Northwestern University

'Whether wind or solar power can ever provide the energy needed in an increasingly energy-conscious and insecure world is debatable but this excellent book provides a historical perspective that is either ignored or given little credence in contemporary debates of considerable subtlety and relevance. This is a book not to be ignored.'

Source: The Historical Association (

'… an accessible and comprehensive guide to his interpretation of the industrial revolution. It offers at once a clear and compelling argument for the centrality of energy in the historical rise of industrial societies and an opportunity to meditate on the future sustainability of an economic order founded on fossil fuels.'

Jan de Vries Source: Economic History Review

'… an often brilliant and always perceptive presentation of some of the key conclusions from every decade of his half-century of academic research to date.'

Michael Anderson Source: Population Studies

Refine List
Actions for selected content:
Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive
  • Send content to

    To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to .

    To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

    Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

    Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

    Please be advised that item(s) you selected are not available.
    You are about to send

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed