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IBS Lunchtime Research Seminar -Industrial districts in medieval England: A typology

Henley Live Tree
Event information
Date 29 May 2024
Time 13:00-14:30 (Timezone: Europe/London)
Price Free
Venue Henley Business School, Whiteknights Campus
Event types:

You are cordially invited to attend an International Business and Strategy Departmental Research Meeting, during which there will be a presentation by Catherine Casson, Alliance Manchester Business School. A reminder that attendance for IBS (full time, research oriented) staff and full-time students is compulsory, and where possible, must be in person. Individuals unable to attend in person, due to legitimate reasons will be provided a Teams link on request. Non-IBS staff are welcome to attend, but must register prior to the event. If you have not received the email invite please email Angie Clark

Please join us in Room 108, Henley Business School, if you would like to attend, please register using the link below:

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Please make sure you let me know in advance if you intend to attend in person so that the correct amount of catering is booked.

Date: Wednesday 29th May 2024, HBS Room 108

Time: 13.00 - 14.15pm


Industrial districts have been identified as playing an important role in allowing small and medium sized firms to achieve productivity and knowledge advantages that might otherwise only be available to large firms. Marshall observed the presence of industrial districts in Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and decided to investigate why they developed and what benefits they provided (Marshall, 1895: 352–354; Marshall, 1923: 285–6).

Marshall, however, also noted that a long–run perspective could aid our understanding of the development of industrial districts. In Principles of Economics (1895: 348, 351) he suggested that the localisation of industry could be traced back to the middle ages. In Industry and Trade (1923) Marshall proposed that the medieval period was an important part of the narrative due to a degree of stability in the political environment, the presence of royal regulation and the willingness of ‘far–sighted’ monarchs to allow the immigration of ‘skilled foreign artisans for the inception of new industries’ (Marshall, 1923: 35, 41).

Despite these comments, little attention has been paid to the role of industrial districts in the middle ages. This paper seeks to address that gap. It develops a typology of industrial districts that were present in England in the period c. 1200-1500. It then applies that to the salt, iron, cloth and printing sectors. The paper shows that Marshall was correct to identify the period’s importance, and also highlights similarities and differences between the sectors and between the medieval districts and their later counterparts

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