British Living Standards

(ESRC Research Grant RES-062-23-2054)

  • Mother and children in the kitchen - 1940s
  • Children eating  - 1940s
  • People in the pub  - 1940s
  • People in the cafe  - 1940s

Welcome to British Living Standards


BLS is where you’ll find the latest studies, data, and methods on the measurement of British living standards. From 1900 to 1960 the lives of working people in Britain were transformed from the widespread chronic poverty into the modern consumer society. Here you can study how this transformation came about, using data from every official survey of households of the period. You can also read and contribute to the latest studies of these data.

This project that created and continues to build this virtual centre involves a vast amount of work. Millions of pages of survey returns from thousands of households over the period have been digitised (turned from information sitting on shelves in archives into readily available digital information). Most of this material has never been studied or digitised before.

This project has been funded by the ESRC (Research Grant RES-062-23-2054).