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THE RISE AND DECLINE OF WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION Victorian Britain can be seen in terms of a largely full-employment but low-welfare society. In such circumstances a workman's greatest need was for a fit and healthy body, for only with such could he expect to perform the work required to obtain for himself and his family food, shelter and clothing without recourse to the poor law, private charity or other forms of non-wage financial support. One of the major threats to bodily and material sufficiency, especially for miners, railwaymen, merchant seamen and Others in dangerous employment, was provided by industrial injury or disease without compensation. 2 It was not until 1897 that Parliament passed a Workmen's Compensation Act giving large groups of workers, in the event of physical injury, a statutory right to compensatiin from their employers regardless of the employer's fault and largely regardless of their own part in precipitating their misfortune. This Act established what Beveridg . . .