The Industrial Revolution, 1750-1914

Evaluating the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was a dramatic, challenging, innovative and complex period in human history that forever changed the way people lived, worked, travelled, communicated and ran society. Many sources have been used to examine the huge social, economic, political and environmental changes that occurred.

Before a final evaluation of this multi-faceted and often paradoxical era, it is helpful to examine one final source that gives an intriguing account of the Industrial Revolution, and in so doing raises many questions about the overall costs and benefits of the revolution. That source is the Industrial Revolution sequence in the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Activity 13

  1. Examine The Industrial Revolution sequence, London Olympics opening ceremony (PDF, 136 KB) and watch the Industrial Revolution Sequence on YouTube (13.40 – 33.45).
  2. Copy and complete The Industrial Revolution as represented in the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony – table (PDF, 133 KB) drawing on information from this unit and your own research.
  3. As a class, discuss the significance of the Olympic rings being shown to be forged in a furnace. Does this suggest a 'positive' view of the Industrial Revolution? Were any 'negative' aspects suggested? What does this sequence in an Olympic Opening Ceremony suggest about the significance of the Industrial Revolution?
  4. Write a 150-word personal response to the Industrial Revolution sequence in the Opening Ceremony. Discuss how director Danny Boyle used key inventions, texts and individuals to represent the Industrial Revolution, and how you personally responded to the portrayal. How do you evaluate his representation of this historic event?