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Highland Croft

Scottish Farming

Potato Harvesting in the Lothians

" As Good as a Holiday: Potato... Harvesting in the Lothians from 1870 to the Present

Textile Mill

Agricultural Revolution

The Agricultural Revolution in Scotland - as elsewhere - was to some degree synonymous with the Industrial Revolution and shares with it a similar chronology. Historians often regard it as part and parcel of the same process of economic and social development common to much of Europe during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although later in Scotland than in England, the Agricultural Revolution had similar origins. It began modestly in the seventeenth century when enterprising landlords undertook estate improvement. Once underway, from the mid-eighteenth century onwards it rapidly gained momentum to reach a peak during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. It spread northwards from the south-east, in areas like Lothian and Fife, generating enclosure schemes and the building of planned villages. It manifested itself throughout parts of the Highlands in the Clearances.

Although often simply associated with more efficient land use, new strains of crops and breeds of animals, together with some limited mechanisation, the Agricultural Revolution also represented a critical stage in the industrialisation of Scotland. It facilitated economic growth by raising the income of landowners and farmers and contributed directly to industrialisation through primary processing industries such as textiles (linen and wool in particular), brewing, distilling and grain milling. It also forced the pace of social change, initiating long-term migration from the countryside and hence contributing to urbanisation throughout the industrial Lowlands. While the Agricultural Revolution in Scotland is generally associated with the century 1750-1850 the modernisation process continued throughout the nineteenth century and beyond.

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