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Reforming society in the 19th century

In the 19th century, Parliament made reforms to improve the lives of men, women and children in the poorer sections of society.

Reformers within Parliament joined forces with campaigners outside in pressing for reform. The new measures established the principle of government involvement in welfare provision, and in regulating conditions of work in factories, workshops and mines.

In taking up these causes Parliament set itself a precedent for the future.


Although a lot of workplace regulations now emanate from the European Union, Parliament still has an important role to play

Further research

Here is just some of the material that will help you discover more about the background to the great reforming measures of the 19th century

Key dates

Follow the major pieces of reforming legislation in the order in which they were passed in Parliament during the 19th century


In the 19th century Parliament passed reforming legislation concerning social welfare, factories, and mines. Find out how these historic reforms were achieved

Related information

Current parliamentary material on employment

Related information

Current parliamentary material on employment