One of the most important features of Victorian Britain was its growing economy. With the earliest phases of the “Industrial Revolution” behind it, from 1820 the British economy expanded to become the richest country in the world. All sectors of the economy, including finance, industry, agriculture, and service, were transformed in various ways. Overall, Victorians were better off than previous generations; they had adequate food and shelter and, after mid-century, had extra income to spend on discretionary items such as alcohol, leisure pursuits, and holidays. Some decades were times of plenty, others of want. Some fields of work and some areas of the country fared better than others: handloom weavers suffered as their skills became obsolete, while those who lived in Lancashire had job and income opportunities in factory work.