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REGULATION, INSPECTION AND EXTREME RISK: THE HISTORY BEHIND THE GRENFELL TOWER TRAGEDY

Wednesday 17 October: 5:00pm - 7:00pm

History, Faculty of, Room 6, West Road, CB3 9EF

The Grenfell Tower fire is generally agreed to have been the worst tragedy of unnecessary loss of life in Britain since the Aberfan disaster of 1966. In Victorian Britain a number of such disasters struck in various sectors of industry and society as the rapidly changing and largely unregulated profit-oriented economy threw up all manner of hazards from cheap lodging houses to unsafe modes of transport to toxic rivers.

The Victorian response to such tragedies was to set-up statutory regulatory bodies, which by the mid-twentieth century had developed into an extensive system of life-preserving regulatory inspectorates overseeing the economy's proclivity to throw-up new and unsafe commercial products and practices. However, British society has now been subject to several decades of economies and cost-cutting reductions of the functions and scope of these publicly-funded bodies, sometimes characterised in the media as 'red tape' holding back 'enterprise'.

As the Grenfell Tower enquiry proceeds it seems to uncover an underfunded, broken, fragmented and ineffective regulatory system in modern Britain, signifying the unlearning in recent decades of the harsh lessons learned by our Victorian predecessors: that an insufficiently monitored and inspected free market pays insufficient attention to the protection of human life in its search for profits. This event is hosted by History & Policy.

www.historyandpolicy.org

Booking Information

Telephone number:
01223 766766

Booking required

Additional Information

Age: 12+, Talk, Arrive on time, free

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