This is a full-scale and definitive account of the life and work of Sir Edwin Chadwick. Among the sources used are the Chadwick Papers, the Peel, Place, Russell and Gladstone Papers, the Home Office, Treasury and Ministry of Health papers and the minutes and documents of the Metropolitan Commission of Sewers. Centred on this mass of material, this book demonstrates that the great social reforms of the Victorian age should be attributed, not so much to the Cabinets, but to the labours of a handful of civil servants. It also argues that Edwin Chadwick was the most influential of these civil servants and through this illuminating biography, Professor Finer gives an account of early Victorian administration as seen from inside.
This book will be of interest to those studying Victorian social reform, the history of the welfare state and social policy.