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© Boardworks Ltd 2007 1 of 22 © Boardworks Ltd 2006 Britain 1750–1900 1 of 22 The Agricultural Revolution Icons key: For more detailed instructions, see the Getting Started presentation Teacher’s notes included in the Notes Page Accompanying worksheet Flash activity. These activities are not editable. Web addresses Sound
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 2 of 22 Learning objectives © Boardworks Ltd 2007 2 of 22 What was farming like before the Agricultural Revolution? How did the Agricultural Revolution change farming in Britain? Did everything really change during the Agricultural Revolution?
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 3 of 22 Agriculture = farmingRevolution = rapid change Between 1750 and 1900 there were major changes in farming. Actually, the Agricultural Revolution can be seen as starting in the 17 th century – by 1750 it was already well underway. Before the Agricultural Revolution, farming had changed little since the Middle Ages. Each village had three open fields, and common land for grazing animals. Two of the fields grew crops such as barley and oats and the third was left fallow. Each field was divided into strips and every farmer had strips in each field. What was the ‘Agricultural Revolution’?
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 4 of 22 The old system
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 5 of 22 The old three field system shared out the good and poor land fairly, but it was very inefficient. A farmer’s land was scattered about, and so he wasted time travelling between strips, carrying his tools with him. Farmers could not choose to grow different crops or try new techniques because this would upset the system. The old three field system Animals were grazed on the common land with everyone else’s, so farmers had no control over their breeding or the spread of diseases.
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 6 of 22 The old three field system
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 7 of 22 Enclosure meant that the common land, meadow, and the three fields were reorganized and redistributed. A farmer’s land was now all in one area and he could enclose his fields with fences and hedges. Each farmer could choose which crops to grow, try out new crops and ideas and control selective breeding. Farming became altogether more efficient and more productive. What were the benefits of enclosure? Enclosure By 1700, only about half of the farmland in England still used the Open-Field System. The rest had been enclosed by acts of parliament.
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 8 of 22 The effects of enclosure
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 9 of 22 What type of farmland was lost during enclosure? The effects of enclosure Enclosure might have increased the efficiency of farming in England, but it wasn’t good news for everyone who lived in the countryside. How might this have made life more difficult for some villagers? Many poorer people relied on the common land to supplement their tiny incomes. After enclosure, there was nowhere for them to graze a few animals, collect tinder or pick berries.
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 10 of 22 Turnips Barley Clover Wheat Year 4 Year 3 Year 2 Year 1 Many farmers sought to improve their crop yields. To do this, they improved the soil by muck spreading, adding lime or planting crops which put nitrogen back into the ground. Fodder crops, such as turnips and clover, were grown. These helped restore the soil’s fertility, so there was no longer any need to leave the land fallow. These new crops could be fed to livestock, allowing animals to be kept over the winter, rather than being slaughtered in the autumn. Crops – what changed?
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 11 of 22 Crops – what changed?
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 12 of 22 Enclosure allowed farmers to control the breeding of their livestock because the animals could be separated into different fields. The new fodder crops also helped farmers produce more meat, as they could now keep most of their animals through the winter, instead of slaughtering many at a young age. How did the farmers produce more meat? The farmer could then select the best individuals to breed from in order to produce the biggest, healthiest offspring. This is known as selective breeding.
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 13 of 22 As a result, cattle more than doubled in weight and sheep more than tripled between 1710 and 1795. How did the farmers produce more meat? Enclosure also prevented the spread of disease from one herd to another.
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 14 of 22 Farming was far more productive if the conditions were ideal. Enclosure allowed farmers to specialize in the crops or animals best suited to their local climate, soil and terrain. For example, the flat fertile land in East Anglia was ideal for wheat; fruit trees flourished best in Kent, while the hills of Wales were great for sheep farming. Before 1750, most people were subsistence farmers. This means that they produced only what they needed to survive. Across Britain, families each grew a little corn, some root vegetables and kept a few animals. Specialization Farmers became experts in their specialist produce.
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 15 of 22 Before 1750, farming was done by hand, with horses pulling ploughs and carts. With the growth of the iron industry, new, heavy duty tools could be mass produced. New machines were invented for activities such as threshing corn. New machinery
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 16 of 22 Many machines were still horse-powered, but by the 1850s there were steam-powered traction engines which powered ploughs, chaff-cutters and other machines. These new machines transformed work in the countryside. One or two men could operate a steam tractor which would do the work of ten men. New machinery
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 17 of 22 Horse power Horses were usually a farmers most valuable possession in 1750, as they were the only alternative to hand-power.
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 18 of 22 Horse power During the 19 th century, machinery was designed that could do the work of several men, but was often still horse-powered.
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 19 of 22 Effects of the Agricultural Revolution
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 20 of 22 Life in the countryside changed dramatically during the Agricultural Revolution. Without access to common land, those who had very small farms, or no land at all, found it difficult to get by. Mechanization meant that fewer labourers were needed. Many people in the countryside found themselves out of work. The only help these people had was poor relief. Others left the countryside to find work. These people met with other difficulties in the new industrial towns. Those who could not support themselves went into workhouses, paid for by the wealthier people in society. Effects of the Agricultural Revolution
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 21 of 22 The Agricultural Revolution
© Boardworks Ltd 2007 22 of 22 Choose either 2 or 3: 2.Write a report detailing the main themes you will be including: something about each of animals, crops, land and machinery. What exhibits would you show? 3.Design a brochure or poster to advertise the exhibition. 1.Why was the Agricultural Revolution so important? (Clue: think about what might have happened if production had not increased.) Imagine it is 1900. You have been asked to organize an exhibition showing the changes in farming over the last 150 years. Activities
© Boardworks Ltd of 22 © Boardworks Ltd 2006 Britain 1750– of 22 The Agricultural Revolution Icons key: For more detailed instructions, see.
The Agricultural Revolution in Europe
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