- Category: Special features
Looking back, it seems as if the social structure of the town fifty years ago was fairly clear-cut. At the very peak of the social hierarchy, in a category by themselves, were the members of the Howard family, the only people in the town who would be ranked as aristocratic in the wider society of the county or the nation. Beneath the Howards were the industrialists who comprised the town's upper class. They were wealthy men, some of them wealthier than the Howards and some even millionaires, who had either grown up in Glossop or moved into it at an early age, and who owed both their fortunes and their social status to their success in developing the town's industries.
At the bottom of the hierarchy were the great mass of factory hands and their dependants who comprised the working class. In an intermediate position were a relatively small number of shopkeepers, professional people, and office workers. The only clear way to rise in the social scale was to make money in business. Given the right qualities, however, this was not particularly difficult, and if success was achieved there were no cultural barriers to social acceptance. Some of the millowners had themselves come from humble origins, and in Glossop nobody thought any the worse of them for that.