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Major Industrial regions
Europe: Europe was the home of the Industrial Revolution and was first to develop heavy industries on a large scale. In terms of industrial output, the variety of industries and the number of people employed in the industrial sector, it is still the greatest in the world. European industries have the following characteristics.
1. A high degree of technological proficiency, especially in the fields of engineering, textiles, chemicals and electronics. Industrial areas are usually located on or near the coalfields, though some of the newer industries such as electro-metallurgical and electrochemical industries in Sweden and Switzerland are based on hydroelectric power. Industries based on petrochemicals are located at importing ports such as Antwerp, Rotterdam and Europort.
2. Industrial operations are highly mechanized in Britain, Germany, France and Switzerland because of their inventive genius.
3. The manufacturing belt of Europe is not continuous. The principal manufacturing zone extends from west to east from Britain through Northeastern France, Belgium, the Rhineland of West Germany. Other important industrial areas are Britain, the Swiss Plateau, northern Italy, in central Sweden and in many large towns and cities throughout Europe such as London, Paris, Berlin, and Milan.
Great Britain: The Midlands is the largest British industrial belt centered at Birmingham. Its early growth was entirely due to the presence of coalfields, but its central location has been its most lasting advantage and has brought about the development of a dense network of roads and railways. Today industrial power is provided mainly by thermal production crude and imported oil. The region makes anything 'from a pig to a battleship', but specializes in smaller metal goods manufacture and high quality items.
Coventry: The heart of the automobile industry, is located in 'the Warwickshire coalfield. It began with the making of bicycles and sewing machines and later turned to cars, coaches, and trucks. The pottery industry in Stoke-on- Trent depended on local clay and kaolin. Kaolin is brought from Cornwall. The pottery industry grew in importance in the eighteenth century because of the skill and enterprise of Spode and Wedgwood, and is still extremely important. It now uses electric kilns and imported raw materials.
Northeast England: This region has heavy engineering and a wide range of metallurgical industries. By virtue of its location on the Northumberland and Durham coalfield, and its proximity to the iron ore of the Cleveland Hills, it developed an iron and steel industry, mechanical and constructional engineering, shipbuilding, chemicals and glass industries.
Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire: Britain's woolen and worsted textiles region is the Aire and Calder Valleys centered around Broadford and Halifax (worsted), Huddersfield and Wakefield (woolens) and Leeds (garments). Other Industries in the region includes the manufacture of textile machinery. Extending southwards from the West Riding textiles region is another outstanding industrial district centered at Sheffield, the world's larger cutlery town. The region has an important iron and steel industry with steelworks in Sheffield and blast furnaces and rolling mills in surrounding towns. The engineering industry is also well developed, producing tools, machine parts, locomotives and other metal products. The chief steel and engineering towns, apart from Sheffield, are Rotterdam, Doncaster and Chesterfield. This inland region especially Sheffield, has retained its importance even though the largest iron and steel mills are now on the coast, because of the high quality and specialized nature of the finished goods. This offsets higher transport costs)
Greater London Industrial Region: London, the capital, is a leading seaport, and a financial centre of international importance, and its seven million population provides both labour and a large affluent market. The range of manufactures is wide including cement, oil refineries (in the Themes estuary), metal working, chemicals, electrical industries and automobile manufacture (at Dagerham) as well as market instruments tobacco, furniture, perfumes and cosmetics, luxury goods, printing and publishing.
South Wales illustrates many of the problems of older industrial regions and shows how modern locational influence operate to take advantage of the large labour supplies and the tradition of industrial activities in the region.
Next: Major Industrial regions 2