Queen Victoria’s reign saw the entire basis of English life swing from agriculture to industry; from country to town. The increase in wealth and population was something that had never been dreamed to be impossible. Although many lived in poverty, more people than ever before were now able to lead lives of decency and comfort. A new class formed – a comfortable working class. At the same time, power and influence began to pass from the landed aristocracy to the town-made middle classes, who nevertheless continued to hanker after social prestige that only ownership of land could bestow. Taken mainly from contemporary sources, the author gives a picture of these fundamental changes in English life. There is a survey of the early Victorian scene; an observation of the passing of rural life; the growth of the towns and descriptions of town life for the poor, the comfortable middle class and the middle-classes. For better or worse, modern England is still influenced by this period of history. With 125 black and white contemporary illustrations.