Download Modern Britain: An Economic and Social History by John Irwin PDF

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By John Irwin

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Extra resources for Modern Britain: An Economic and Social History

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The London survey covered the area first investigated by Charles Booth in the 1880s. While poverty had certainly diminished it was found that the rate of decline had been slowed by the persistent housing shortage which the poor faced and the departure from the area of the more prosperous families. As a result, East London remained an area where there was persistent poverty. Nevertheless, the survey found that poverty was only one third as extensive as indicated by Booth. 4 million, 284,000 (12 per cent) were living in poverty as defined by Booth (Llewellyn Smith 1934:6).

Of course, sexual stereotyping affects both men and women and both may suffer in the process. If Victorian women were confined by the drudgery of domestic management and child-rearing, most men were subject to lifelong regimes of hard physical labour, awesome by modern standards. Also, we should remember that there is much which cannot be explained in terms of gender. As the previous section made clear, there were vertical as well as horizontal divisions in society, and social class may have been more important than gender.

Taking the four peacetime periods between 1856 and 1973, Matthews et al. estimate the following for growth of inputs and total factor productivity. It will be seen that, allowing for margins of error, there is a broad similarity in growth of net output in each of the main peacetime periods since the mid-nineteenth century: it is ‘almost as if the range of two to two and a half per cent per annum had been meted out to the British economy by divine grace – or, in the eyes of many critics, by divine retribution’ (Von Tunzelmann 1981:241).

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