Factories and steam train in Glasgow, 1831The Industrial Revolution is what we call the time when industry was changed hugely by the development of new machinery. It started during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Before then, people made things in workshops or in their homes. During the Industrial Revolution, factories were built in which goods were manufactured on a large scale using machines. Towns and cities grew up around the factories. Many people from the countryside moved there to work. The Industrial Revolution began in Britain, but during the 19th century it quickly spread to other European countries and to North America.