Industry is a term that describes a wide range of economic activities based on the sourcing, manipulation and movement of raw materials for commercial gain. In the modern era the term is used widely to describe activities as diverse as banking, computer software engineering and forestry, but in the period of industrial development between about 1750 and 1950 it is usually associated with the transformation of natural raw materials into useful products using water-power or coal as the primary source of energy.
The medieval period is taken to end in 1540, on the death of King Henry VIII and accession of Elizabeth I to the English throne. In the north-east of England this period also marked the end of the succession of wars between England and Scotland which had blighted the region with insecurity and impoverishment since the 13th century. Following the Battle of Flodden in 1513, one of the largest and bloodiest battles ever to take place on British soil, no battles on the same scale occurred again, and most of the remaining confrontations were north of the Border.