When this volume of work was published, The Times welcomed the book
and the project in these words: Here - almost for the first time -
we have a picture of normal society in a past age in the same
fullness of detail as we can picture our own age. It is the
beginning of what we have never had before, a history of the
English people. The first volume of John Harold Clapham's
remarkable and original work begins with a comprehensive
description of Britain on the eve of the Railway Age, covering
topics such as the organisation of agriculture, industry and
commerce. The second half of the volume takes as its starting point
the opening of Liverpool Manchester Railway in 1830 and
investigates the social and fiscal policies of this period of rapid
change as well as the advances in engineering and their effects.
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