V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > B. The French Revolution and Europe, 1789–1914 > 7. Western and Central Europe, 1848–1914 > b. Britain
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
b. Britain
Monarchs: Queen Victoria (r. 1837–1901), Edward VII (r. 1901–10), and George V (r. 1910–36).  1
Prime ministers: Lord John Russell (1846–52, Whig), Lord Derby (1852, Conservative-Peelite), Aberdeen coalition government (1852–55), Palmerston (1855–58), Derby-Disraeli coalition (1858–59), Palmerston until his death (1859–65), Lord Russell (1865–66), Derby (1866–68), Disraeli (1868), Gladstone (1868–74), Disraeli (1874–80), Gladstone (1880–85), Salisbury (1885–86), Gladstone (1886), Salisbury (1886–92), Gladstone (1892–94), Lord Rosebery (1894–95), and Conservatives, Lord Salisbury (1895–1902), Arthur J. Balfour (1902–5), Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1905–8, Liberal), and Herbert H. Asquith (1908–16, Liberal).  2
1. England, Scotland, and Wales
Economics. British textile, coal, and iron industries continued to grow but not as rapidly as those of Germany and the U.S. Britain's role as the leading industrial nation became superseded by its role as shipper and financier in the latter part of the 19th century. Britain also allowed agriculture to decline rapidly, especially after the Great Depression between 1873 and 1879, in which agricultural prices plummeted under increasing competition from abroad and good harvests.  3
The Public Health Act stipulated an annual death rate of 23 per 1,000 was unacceptable, but, despite improvements, Britain's death rate remained close to that figure in many cities.  4
The Factory Act, along with another act in 1853, established a 64-hour workweek for all steam-powered factories and mandated that these factories close at 2:00 P.M. on Saturdays.  5
Henry Mayhew (1812–87), a journalist for The Morning Chronicle, wrote a series of articles entitled “Labour and the Poor” (1849–50), which appeared in the Chronicle and later under the title London Labour and the London Poor.  6
The Great Exhibition in London. The exhibition displayed the most modern machinery and inventions in the glass and iron Crystal Palace. Conceived of by Prince Albert and Henry Cole (a civil servant), the exhibition spotlighted British superiority and ingenuity. The instigation of shilling days helped to calm middle-class fears about the participation of the working class, who, much to the former's surprise, behaved in an orderly fashion.  7
Formation of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (ASE). The ASE is perhaps the earliest example of the new model unionism of the 1850s and 1860s. The new unions of skilled workers, including organizations for typographers, compositors, boilermakers, spinners, and weavers, were well organized, national or amalgamated, and funded by dues collected and managed locally. The unions practiced a policy of cautious bargaining and struck only as a last resort. Many workers began to accept labor as a commodity, exchanging less control over their skills in return for shorter hours and higher pay (instrumentalism).  8
The ASE strike was followed by a three-month lockout. The engineers returned to work on the employers' terms but demonstrated both strength and persistence.  9
Cholera epidemic in Britain. John Snow, a British doctor, demonstrated that the outbreak could be linked to the water supply.  10
Vaccination of infants made compulsory. The law bolstered the 1840 Vaccination Act, and further acts in 1858, 1867, and 1871 stipulated various fines and terms of imprisonment for parents who failed to immunize their children.  11
The temperance movement. An act of 1854 forbade the opening of public houses between 2:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. on Sundays except to travelers. An act in 1864 closed the London public houses between 1:00 P.M. and 4:00 P.M. These acts indicated the growing strength of temperance organizations. In 1861, the Temperance Lifeboat movement, dedicated to saving people from the ruin of drunkenness, began in Staffordshire.  12
The Nuisances Removal and Disease Prevention Act allowed local authorities to obtain court orders for the removal of public health dangers at the expense of the property owners involved, if those owners refused to cooperate.  13
THE CRIMEAN WAR (See 1853–56) caused great hardship for British troops because of inadequate hospital care and lack of supplies due to poor preparation. Florence Nightingale and a group of other women became nurses at the front but were unable to make up for the poor planning on the part of the military. As a result, more men died of illness than died in battle.  14
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.