The structure of the middle class
The Victorian middle-class is largely associated with the growth of cities and the expansion of the economy. The term was used from around the mid-eighteenth century to describe those people below the aristocracy but above the workers.
During the Victorian period the middle class grew in size and importance. It made up about fifteen percent of the population. The middle class was a diverse group that included everyone between the working class and the elite class. The middle class included successful industrialists and wealthy bankers. It also included poor clerks that normally earned only half as much as skilled workers such as a printer or a railway engine driver, but a clerk would still be considered middle class, because income was not the defining factor of class, the source of the income was. The people with the highest social standing were the professionals within the middle class. This part of middle class was often called the upper middle class. This group included Church of England clergymen, military and naval officers, men who were in the higher-status branches of law and medicine, those at the upper levels of governmental services, and university professors. Later on in this period, civil engineers and architectural occupations were added. This sector of the middle class was mostly urban. Their sons were educated at boarding schools and universities. Another portion of the upper middle class was made of those whose success was a direct result of the Industrial Revolution. Large-scale merchants, manufacturers, and bankers achieved class mobility by also becoming able to send their sons and daughters to school. Before the Industrial Revolution, this would not have been possible. The lower middle class consisted of small shopkeepers and clerical workers as previously mentioned. To work, they needed to be literate, but higher education was not necessary. Their children were kept in school until the age of twelve...
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