I began exploring two questions: from where did British Manufacturing come, and what happened to it.
I tried to answer the first question in my book, How Britain Shaped the Manufacturing World.
For the second question, I began with a title Whatever Happened to British Manufacturing, taking up the commonly held belief that ‘we don’t manufacture anymore’. I found that a number of books had been written on this very theme and they are sad reading, especially if, like me, you love the old motor car marques, thrill to the sound of a Deltic or tingle at the smell of a steam engine.
I found, as I suspect you will know, that the truth is quite different: that we have a vibrant manufacturing industry, but which is different, smaller and employs fewer people.
It is though at risk. Government must become a partner if we are to tackle green technology, for example.
My work in progress is thus research into the story of what happened to British manufacturing after 1951 (my first book ends with the Festival of Britain) but also and importantly what it is now.
The image is the University of Lincoln which in the last decade opened a school of engineering.