The Brits didn’t know what they were starting with that little Industrial Revolution thing. The rest of Europe was slow to warm up to it, I guess because it wasn’t pretty. Most European countries have a better esthetic sense than Britain. Science, philosophy, literature, etc. finds Britain at or near the top. The less abstract arts like painting (and cuisine) they score lower in. The Industrial Revolution was the death of craftsmanship, not to mention the environment. They then had to re-invent craftsmanship and redefine it as an art. What will happen with the environment is an ongoing question. The ‘dark Satanic mills’ of England were hardly an inspiration. The rest of Europe must have scoffed until they realized they were missing the boat economically; then they scurried to catch up. Why Britain got such a head start is a matter of conjecture, but I suspect the fact that they had such a capable and well-defined working class was a major factor. I suspect that, with their long-innovative Celtic roots, the working class in fact created the revolution, which the Germanic upper class capitalized, directed, and ultimately, capitalized on. Until electricity came along, it was all about gears and wheels and mechanics. The ancient Celts had a pivoting front axle long before the road-building Romans, allowing for efficient four-wheeled vehicles that could actually turn without being dragged through a corner. The word ‘car’, in fact, is of Celtic origin and, along with the word ‘cerveza’, sounds a whole lot like the ‘hood’ to me. What the Celts never had much of were cities. That’s a major disadvantage in the history of civilization, i.e. ‘city-fication’. As the age of cities arose, the Celts moved farther and farther away until now they cling to the ocean cliffs of Ireland with nowhere left to go as an independent culture. The rest is history.