Coventry joined the industrial revolution at a relatively late stage, for until the latter part of the nineteenth century the city's industrial structure was based upon traditional crafts, the most important of which were ribbon weaving and watchmaking. The rise of imported products following the removal of tariff protection in 1860 revealed that Coventry's silk-ribbon manufacturers were unable to compete with their Swiss and French counterparts in either price or design. This particular dip in the economic cycle brought unemployment and substantial migration from the city. By 1867 half of Hillfields was said to have become depopulated with row upon row of houses standing vacant. 1 For those who remained there was often little alternative but to resort to Poor Relief or help from one of the city's numerous charities. 2