Industrial Archaeology is the study of the sites, methods and machines of industry. The English phrase first appeared in print in 1955 in an article by Michael Rix of the University of Birmingham, in England.
At first, the subject was studied by part-time enthusiasts and concentrated on the early Industrial Revolution in Britain.
Today, there is a body of full-time industrial archaeologists working in universities and museums around the world and the time-scale has expanded to cover industry from pre-history to the present day.
The Industrial Revolution was the period of rapid social and economic changes beginning in mid eighteenth century England, brought about by the mechanisation of production and the move from domestic manufacture to purpose-built factories.
Obviously, no one place can legitimately claim to be the birthplace of such a diverse event as The Industrial Revolution, but the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, England has had this claim made for it!
Despite the silly claim, The Ironbridge Gorge Museum is a very good place to start to get a feel for the subject of Industrial Archaeology.