The Edwardian era stands out as a time of peace and plenty. There were no severe depressions, and prosperity was widespread. Britain’s growth rate, manufacturing output and GDP (but not GDP per capita) fell behind its rivals, the United States and Germany but the nation still led the world in trade, finance and shipping, and had strong bases in manufacturing and mining.The industrial sector was slow to adjust to global changes, and there was a striking preference for leisure over entrepreneurship among the elite. However, major achievements should be underlined. London was the financial centre of the world—far more efficient and wide-ranging than New York, Paris or Berlin. Britain had built up a vast reserve of overseas credits in its formal Empire, as well as in its informal empire in Latin America and other nations. It had huge financial holdings in the United States, especially in railways. These assets proved vital in paying for supplies in the first years of the World War. The amenities, especially in urban life, were accumulating—prosperity was highly visible. The working classes were beginning to protest politically for a greater voice in government, but the level of industrial unrest on economic issues was not high until about 1908.
Below there is an interesting photographic overview of the markets, street vendors and shops during the Edwardian era. Take a look:
The extent of this trade was huge. Railways all over the world were built by the British, and equipped with machinery made in Britain. Germany also became a powerful nation, and the United States was already becoming an industrial giant. By Edward VII’s time. both of these countries were as industrially advanced as Britain.
Most British people in the “Edwardian era” were sure that British progress would continue. They were certain that the United Kingdom would continue to be very powerful. The era came to an unexpected end with the First World War. Economically and in human terms, this was a disaster for most of the European nations.
There was a lot of inequality in society in the United Kingdom in the Edwardian era, as there always had been. Rich people and poor people had very different living standards at this time.Most adult men could vote, but women could not. Suffragettes were fighting for the right to vote.