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"John Wilkinson was one of the earliest and greatest pioneers of the Industrial Revolution, and also one of the most eccentric. His life was an extraordinary and dramatic one. But it is also t...ypical of many great 18th century industrialists in that he found a material - iron - developed its technology, applied its end products and turned a modest and questionable inheritance into a huge fortune.
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Module code and title: A202, The age of revolutions
Item code: A202; 06
Recording date: 1971-05-22
First transmission date: 08-02-1972
Published: 1972
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OUDA web pages.
Duration: 00:17:45
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Producer: Nuala O'Faolain
Contributors: Edward Chapman; Chris Harvie; Christopher Harvie; Tony Jackson; Roy Spencer; Royston Wood
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): 18th Century Industrialist
Footage description: Christopher Harvie's narrative covers Wilkinson's life story, but it concentrates on his relations with Boulton and Watt of Birmingham. Wilkinson provided their new steam engines with perfectly bored cylinders, and for a time the three collaborated happily. But this relationship, like most of Wilkinson's, was soured by the ruthless chicanery which characterized his dealings with family, colleagues and employees. James Watt Jnr. said he had 'tin iron soul". Whatever the truth - and much of the evidence necessary for establishing the truth was deliberately obscured at the time - Wilkinson was a figure larger than life. Years after he died his workmen fully expected him to rise from the grave to revisit his works. And the pub ballad which is woven into the narrative itself expresses a view of tough admiration for Wilkinson which the programme as a whole makes credible.
Master spool number: TLN21FM161J
Production number: TLN21FM161J
Available to public: no