The purpose of this 42-month position is to make leading contributions to the Leverhulme Trust-funded project ‘Away from the water’: the first energy transition, British textiles 1770-1890. You will be based in Glasgow and work with Principal Investigator Professor Paul Bishop (PDRA1) and Co-Investigator Dr Adam Lucas (University of Wollongong, Australia) (PDRA2) as well as collaboratively with each other (i.e., being one member of the four-person project team). As well as undertaking the research work for this project, the successful candidate will contribute to the formulation and submission of research publications and collaboratively help manage and direct this complex multi-disciplinary project.
The project will test recent scholarship proposing that British industrialists moved ‘away from the water’ to steam-driven factories in order to concentrate production at the most profitable sites and during the most convenient hours. The project integrates three rarely collaborating disciplines – geomorphology, social and economic history, and the history of technology – to cast fresh light on when and why the conversion from water- to steam-power occurred in cotton manufacturing (c.1790-1850), initiating one of the most profound social transformations humanity has ever experienced. The project focuses on the industry’s heartlands in northern England and Scotland, and we argue that – and will test whether – local geomorphological and political factors played a more significant role in the energy transition than has previously been recognized.