chapter
Introduction
Pages 4

IN the first halfofthe nineteenth century, the tide ofindustrial changebrought new wealth and new opportunities to a few, but squalorand hardship to many. The social problems with which small rural communities had dealt casually, but on the whole effectively, became acute in the towns, where families crowded together in conditions of dirt and disease and despair; but industrialization, if it intensified social distress, also provided the means of dealing with it. The very force of distress produced a new social conscience, a desire to tackle the age-old problems ofpoverty and sickness and ignorance which had largely been taken for granted by the 'reasonable man' of the eighteenth century; and new, swift communications provided the means of establishing nationalstandardswherepreviouslyonlylocalstandardshadbeenpossible.