One of the defining features of 19th-century Britain was the widening ownership of wealth. Economic transformations, including the rise of industrial economy, offered new opportunities for generating wealth and underpinned the emergence of a new property-owning middle class. The fortunes and longevity of the middle class depended on how they responded to the market, and passed economic opportunities on to the next generation. Transmission of wealth at death was an important means by which this group were able to reproduce themselves and maintain their economic and social status.
For more information see the History of Wealth website