Markets and firms

Alastair J. Reid

in The Tide of Democracy

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780719081033
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702949 | DOI:
Markets and firms

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This chapter explores the paradox of the shipbuilding industry in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain. On the one hand, its final products were among the most technically sophisticated of the period. They combined vast metal structures with highly advanced engineering; they included huge cargo ships, powerful naval vessels, and luxurious passenger liners; and their international use was increasingly dependent on the most advanced applied science of the day, including the telegraph and the wireless. Yet on the other hand, these superb machines were produced in an environment which was surprisingly crude. It was extremely noisy and dirty, with a great deal of work being carried out in the open and with little provision for refreshment or sanitation; it was very dangerous, as a result of the great heights at which many of the men worked and the chaotic conditions of half-finished ships; and as a result of the widely dispersed indoor and outdoor sites, many of which were hard even to see, it was difficult to supervise.

Keywords: British shipbuilding industry; Britain; ships; production

Chapter.  5785 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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