Industrial heritage covers very many areas within heritage, including but not limited to factory and industrial or manufacturing processes of all types, transport systems, buildings and housing, sanitation and water supplies. Throughout history there has been industrial aspects to most sites, from Neolithic stone workings through to cottage industries and on through the industrial revolutions.
Industrial Archaeology is the study of this and was a term first used by Michael Rix in the 1950's in Birmingham, UK. Initially it was not accepted as a valid branch of archaeology by professional archaeologists, but later gained acceptance. One of the first areas in the UK to be subject to a systematic study of its industrial archaeology was the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire. Over the last ten years a major study has occurred in the Sheffield area looking at its history in relation to the production of steel.
In more recent times there has been an increase in the interest in industrial sites that, up to relatively recently, had no protection and most created no interest. Often where buildings had protection orders the machinery that remained within them did not.
We have under the Heritage classification many areas of industrial heritage, and a wide range of special sections available in Heritage Section that have been in many cases created when covered in a featured editions and some other more general articles on these areas including:-
World Heritage Sites
European Route for Industrial Heritage
The Industrial Revolutions
In addition you can find links to many of the organisations and other bodies interested in this area from:-