17.9. Installation of Infrastructure without Charge to Wage-Earners

A number of improvements in the daily life of the working class were funded by the government, by private industry, or by rate-payers. Thus they are not visible in the long-term movements in the weekly wages. Another way of looking at this, is that they are included in the increase in Gross National Product, but not in the total of wages in the country. 

Gaslighting in streets and public places was introduced from 1815 onwards. The construction of the production facilities and for the purchase of coal for the gas was paid for by private companies. Their initial costs were covered by subscription from investors. The current costs were paid by local authorities, who were reimbursed by their ratepayers.

The introduction of penny postage in a government organization reduced the cost of letters to about one quarter. Before this date, it was nearly impossible for the poorer classes to use the postal system. 

The railways as such were a great improvement for everybody, as they made it much easier to travel, and reduced the transport costs for food and manufactures. For the working classes, the important change was in the “parliamentary trains”. The railway companies were legally obliged by the terms of their concessions to give subsidized tickets (one penny per mile) for third class passengers, for one train daily in each direction on every track connection.

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