Measures for Measure: Geology and the industrial revolution (Hardcover)

Measures for Measure: Geology and the industrial revolution By Leeder Mike Cover Image
Ask a Bookseller about this title


Measures for Measure features once greatly-disturbed landscapes – now largely reclaimed, physically at least, by post-industrial activity. Yet the surviving machines, buildings and housing of the original Industrial Revolution, founded mostly upon Coal Measures strata, still loom large over many parts of Britain. They do so nowadays in the family-friendly and informative context of industrial museums, reconstructed industrial settlements, preserved landscapes and historic townscapes. Our society and its creative core of literature, visual arts and architecture were profoundly affected by the whole process. The British Carboniferous legacy for wider humankind was profound and permanent, more so with the realisation over the last 60 or so years that the emission of carbon dioxide during human utilisation of fossil fuels has caused global warming – with all its many unintended consequences.Coal, iron ore and other metallic ores and materials had been extracted from Carboniferous strata and traded for over five hundred years before the Industrial Revolution, notably since thirteenth century in the 'London Trade' of coal from Tyneside.

About the Author

Mike Leeder is Emeritus Professor at UEA Norwich and a former Head of Earth Sciences at Leeds University. Outside his geological comfort zone he has, since his schooldays, taken a keen interest in history, literature and politics, all topics covered in the present book. He is, with Joy Lawlor, co-author of GeoBritannica, the story of British geological and landscape evolution and the related creativity of its peoples since Neolithic times.

Praise For…

'As geologists, we understand that the Carboniferous rocks of the Coal Measures were essential to the first Industrial Revolution. They determined its location, pace and extent. This book explains not only this relationship but the profound consequences to our landscape, society, culture and economics that followed.

An engaging narrative with cameos is used to frame the story, referencing the writings and eye witness accounts of contemporary individuals. The geological firsts attributed to George Sinclair, whose work involved predicting where mineral resources could be found and easy won, were particularly insightful. Abraham Darby with his technological knowhow sparked the revolutionary blueprint, but he relocated to Coalbrookdale for a reason!

Professor Leeder’s vast knowledge comes to the fore in explaining the how, why and where. The answers of course are in the rocks, from the rise of forests, palaeoclimate and diagenesis to the Rheic Ocean’s demise and, finally, basin inversion. The richness of the geological story presented is like the creation of Pangaea itself - an impressive all-encompassing assemblage.

Whether a balance between narrative and textbook style is achieved, only the reader can decide. It is however an enjoyable and though provoking read and thoroughly recommended.' —Geoscientist online

"In this eclectic text, geologist Leeder (Univ. of East Anglia) asks why the Industrial Revolution was successful in Britain but not necessarily so elsewhere in the world. This fascinating account exposes the relationships between resources and social well-being. Highly Recommended." —L. T. Spencer, emeritus, Plymouth State University

Product Details
ISBN: 9781780460819
ISBN-10: 1780460813
Publisher: Liverpool University Press
Publication Date: November 5th, 2020
Pages: 350
Language: English