First published in 1978, this book gathers an extensive range of documents which illuminate the complex and important process by which the State in Britain has taken on increased responsibility for the health and welfare of its citizens. It uses extracts from a variety of sources, including reports, debates, speeches, articles and reviews, and commentary from leading figures of the period, such as Disraeli, Dickens, Edwin Chadwick and Churchill. The book begins with a discussion of the notion of an ‘age of laissez-faire’ in the mid-nineteenth century, and an examination of the extent to which the Liberal government embarked on a conscious policy of ‘welfarism’ between 1906 and 1914. The extracts themselves cover the entire field of social policy, including factory legislation, public health, housing, education, poverty, pensions and unemployment. This book will be of interest to those studying the history of social welfare and social policy.