This review is by Coffee and Books and makes everything worthwhile.
I wanted to read How Britain Shaped the Manufacturing World by Philip Hamlyn Williams because I studied economic history last year and I liked the subject a lot. On top of that the author’s great grandfather exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851. That made the book too enticing to miss and I’m glad I didn’t because it’s great.
The book covers the period from 1850 to 1950, the last chapter being on the Festival of Britain of 1951. It’s a wonderfully circular structure, to start with the Great Exhibition and finish with the Festival of Britain. With wars, including both world wars, and disruption to supply chains, advances in technology, changes in manufacturing, this book had to cover a lot of information and it does it beautifully. It’s easy to read, explained clearly and engaging.
Many topics are covered, from steam power which was still in its infancy in the 1850s to the Mallard of the 1930s, covered developments in communication, the sewing machine, bicycles, cars and aeroplanes. He covers the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, which were interesting to read about. Germany had a leading role when it came to dyestuff, but the war changed that, of course.
This is a very good book, one I would recommend to anyone, without any doubt