Changes In The British Economy, 1873-1901


If anyone is studying this, the economist S.B. Saul wrote a fantastic book called The Myth of the Great Depression. It's really cheap and full of fantastic stats that can be used in exams. Got me my A* anyway!

·      June 1885 Salisbury sets up a Royal Commission to investigate the slump in Britain’s industry and trade.

·      Report finds that agricultural prices had been falling since 1873.

·      Report also found that although there had been an increase in production of most other commodities; supply outstripped demand.

·      Other countries still had protective tariffs, where England did not.

·      Unemployment figures; 1886, was 10.2%, by 1899 was 2%. This had a degree of fluctuation, but unemployment fell towards the end of the period. This suggests that there was never a ‘great depression’.

·      From 1873-1896, there was at 10% drop in price levels of most commodities, implying falling profits and increased unemployment.

·      The price of imports also fell sharply; this benefitted Britain for raw materials/foodstuffs, as they imported around 50% of them.

·      Britain retained its focus on its stable industries; coal/iron/steel, whereas foreign competitors branched out into more advanced industries, such as chemicals and lens making in


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