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Changing Society

I just now see an extraordinary building flaming with fire. The country continues black, engines flaming, coals, in abundance, every where, smoking and burning coal heaps …

Princess Victoria’s Journal, 2 August 1832

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were a time of huge change for Britain in terms of its economy and role in the world, and this in turn led to rising demands for political and social change.

Throughout this period of great change, although it was increasingly the politicians who decided policy, monarchs retained the right to be informed and to give advice. This, together with a monarch’s natural interest in and concern for all matters that affected the well-being of the nation, explains why the Royal Archives today contains literally thousands of papers relating to political topics.

They include extensive correspondence from politicians and other leading figures, providing a very valuable and often unique source of information for historians.

Click on the thumbnails to see the full transcript and image for each item; page numbers relate to their location in the book:

General Laws and Byelaws of the Friendly Society of Labourers, 1833

RA MP/89/101

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Additional items

Click on the thumbnails below to view further Royal Archives items for this theme:

Copies of depositions by John Lock and Edward Legg, both members of the Friendly Society of Labourers, which were given in evidence at the trial of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, 24 February 1834

RA MP/89/98

Read the transcript