The North East produced coal, iron, steel and ships on an unprecedented scale in the decades before the Great War, a time at which it acquired its persistent image as one of the world's great export-driven industrial districts. However, the North East was far from being a single and unified region, and its constituent towns and rivers often worked in fierce competition with one another. This book examines these tensions from a variety of perspectives, building a new picture of a place that seemed so uniform from the outside, while maintaining an intense localist particularism in its politics, institutions and economy. The development of the coalfield and the riparian manufacturing districts moulded new industrial landscapes; the growth of ports and conurbations demanded innovative approaches to government and administration; and the business strategies of North East entrepreneurs challenged conventional boundaries. The author concludes that riverside districts, on the Tyne, Tees and Wear, represented more viable working horizons than any 'regional' North East in this era, and raises important questions about the study of the English regions in their historical context. Dr GRAEME J. MILNE is a Researcher at the University of Liverpool.
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