This textbook is aimed at undergraduate and diploma students across a wide range of the social sciences, with particular reference to those preparing for or involved in careers in social and public administration. It provides, in compact form, the story of social provision from medieval times to the present day, systematically examining major themes of: the relief of poverty and social care; healthcare and housing; crime and policing; and education. With the rise of the Welfare State, and its current questioning as the chief focus, the book sets out to analyze how the state has responded to the social problems that have beset it. Consideration is given to comparative elements in Europe, North America and elsewhere, together with specific reference to issues of race, ethnicity and gender. A specially prepared glossary completes what is a review and description of the growth and present disposition of the full range of social and public services in Britain.