I haven't finished Round About a Pound a Week yet but I'm already finding it fascinating.
"Had they been well housed, well fed, well clothed, and well tended, from birth, what kind of raw material would they have shown themselves to be?" Maud Pember Reeves Round About a Pound a Week
This was first published in 1913. Polly Toynbee's 2008 introduction to this book.
'Social mobility has ground to a halt in the last twenty-five years. Birth is now almost certainly destiny. Some people may escape - but only in the same sense that some people may win the lottery....Britain now has the same distribution of wealth as it had in 1937 - and it's going backwards. At the present pace of growing inequality, we will return to 1913.' Polly Toynbee