Industrialisation and Society: A Social History, 1830-1951

Industrialisation and Society: A Social History, 1830-1951

Industrialisation and Society: A Social History, 1830-1951

Industrialisation and Society: A Social History, 1830-1951

Synopsis

An essential introduction to the effects of industrialisation on British society, from Queen Victoria's reign to the birth of the welfare state in the 1940s.This book deals with the remarkable social consequences of the industrial revolution, as Britain changed into an urban society based on industry. As the first nation to undergo an industrial revolution, Britain was also the first to deal with the unprecedented social problems of rapid urbanisation combined with an unparalleled growth in population. Industrialisation and Society looks at contemporary ways in which the government and ordinary people tried to cope with these new pressures, and studies their reactions to the unforseen consequences of the steam revolution. In particular, this indispensable book considers:* the Victorian inheritance* Edwardian England and the Liberal reforms* the two world wars* the Welfare State.

Excerpt

The title of this book may require a few words of explanation. It is not an industrial history of Britain, but is an examination of the social results of industrialisation from about 1830 to 1951. These results, combined with the unparalleled growth of population in the nineteenth century, may be said to have transformed the nation from one that was fundamentally rural to one based very largely on industry, the first of its kind in the world. This book is therefore concerned with the consequences of enormous changes in the mode of life of people of all classes, but principally of the working classes, and with the emergence of major social problems, some of which, such as poverty and unemployment, remain unsolved to the present day. In a nutshell, the book is about the social results of the Industrial Revolution and the attempted solutions of the problems as they arose. One simple truth in this connection needs to be emphasised: the Victorians could hardly have anticipated where the tide of innovation would lead them by the end of the century, let alone by 1951. They had simply to react as they thought fit as their world was visibly changing all round them, adapting themselves to new situations and inevitably facing new difficulties. For this reason, this book attempts from time to time to comment on the thinking of the age, and indeed on contemporary criticisms of the way society was developing. The Victorians were surprisingly self-critical, and it remains a tragedy that the Great War of 1914-18 brought to an abrupt end so much that was promising in Victorian and Edwardian thought and action.

A last word or so on the period covered by this book: the starting date, 1830, is a convenient date to begin any discussion of the social results of industrialisation, because it is only from about this date onwards that the major problems such as those relating to urbanisation really begin to loom large. By the mid-nineteenth century, the Victorians were in no doubt that they had real and formidable

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