This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the history of social welfare and social policy in Britain before the modern welfare state. It examines the role played by voluntary social provision (including self-help and mutual aid), as well as the growth of state intervention, in meeting welfare needs. It offers detailed coverage of all the main areas of social policy and provides an introduction to the competing theoretical explanations for the growth of welfare states over the last 200 years.
'An important and very accessible addition to the range of literature exploring the foundations and development of the welfare state in Britain is Bernard Harris's The Origins of the British Welfare State. As well as providing a comprehensive analysis of welfare state developments, this text also explores the various historical approaches to studying welfare (its historiography)...[It]is a particularly useful and very readable account of the establishment and development of the welfare state in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.' - Introducing Social Policy, Cliff Alcock, Guy Daly and Edwin Griggs (London: Pearson Longman, 2008) 'Overall, this is a first-rate study of the period in question. Harris has succeeded in providing a highly informative and engaging review of the development of the welfare state. There is no doubt that it will quickly find its way on to the bookshelves of students and scholars in history, social policy and related areas.' - Robert Page, Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 394-5 'This book...provides both a comprehensive introduction to welfare policy and one further reason why the temptation to write medical history as if it were an academic ghetto can be resisted.' - Rodney Lowe, Medical History 'Bernard Harris has provided us with a welcome, well-written and well-researched, and much-needed new history of social welfare in England and Wales. The book...should become a standard text for students of both social history and social policy.' - John Stewart, Reader in the Department of History, Oxford Brookes University, UK