Florence Nightingale’s life covered a time of great change, with advances in science, and industry. The ability for people and goods to be transported far and wide across England, on the railway, improving communications, the telegraph and later the telephone. Steam ships bought advances in wider travel and goods from abroad. There was though, a distinct division of class, the manual working class living in squalid, overcrowded conditions. With so many people looking for work, wages were minimal. Children as young as 5 were sent out to work, in coal mines, factories, chimney sweeps, selling cheap goods on the streets, or running errands. Women often turned to prostitution. There was not a health service as we have today, no sick pay, no days off or holidays, every member of the family had to help to provide for the family. The lower middle class were mainly shopkeepers, clerks and bankers, they were able to keep their children in education. The Middle class had achieved their status from working, they were often doctors, lawyers or politicians, mainly people who had received a good education. The Victorian era bought successful industrial leaders into the Middle class. At the top of the pile was the Upper class, often known as the landed gentry , they owned land that had been passed down through the family. They would have an interest in local affairs, and often stand for Parliament. The Upper class were not always the well off, they had gained their status from their family and not their own achievements.