Re: @steelpillow and ImAlrightJack
Too many people see the past through rose tinted spectacles - a bit like how our town has a Dickensian festival and people dress up in Victorian era costumes. I see a rather different proportion of "well off and well dressed" to "has b***er all and works all hours to keep a hovel roof over the family" than there would have been, and those that do decide to dress up as the lowly ones seem to be rather fitter, healthier, and happier than most of them would have been. But I digress ...
Wasn't that the heyday of Classical Liberal/Whig laissez-faire capitalism pre-socialism ?
Not like the wealth-owners spontaneously decided to improve the working-class lot. As late as the 1930s they were still trying their idee-fixe of forcing coal miners to take less wages.