Monday, February 7, 2011

Wheat Prices and Geography

Mean wheat price 1760-1820
Last post, I showed how the prices of wheat in the counties of interest (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset) all seemed pretty much in lock-step over the period 1760-1820, although Somerset seemed marginally higher. Now I've calculated the mean for the whole period for most English counties and plotted them on the map. The darker the green, the higher the price. Originally I thought this might be connected somehow with London, but it isn't. The big wheat growing areas in England then and now are the flat areas in the east (Norfolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire). Our counties of interest didn't really produce much wheat. So you can see that the greater the local wheat production, the lower the price. Or put it another way, if you live far away from the area of production you pay more because of the cost of that horse and cart. The area within the red pencilled bit is the wheat-growing heartland. See how the price of wheat goes up the further away you are. Except for Cornwall! Those people down in the extreme south-west have always gone their own way!

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