Samuel Plimsoll, a back-bench Liberal MP, campaigns for measures to prevent the practice of overloading unseaworthy vessels and claiming insurance. The Plimsoll Line is established; a line drawn on ships, it denotes the maximum legal load a cargo ship is allowed to carry. The Public Health Act, the work of Richard A. Cross, sets down in detail the responsibilities of local authorities in terms of public health.
Art and science
Anthony Trollope's masterpiece The Way We Live Now is published after serialisation. Containing over 100 chapters, the complex plot, following the fortunes of sham financier Augustus Melmotte, tackles the commercial, political and moral hypocrisy of the age.
Disraeli purchases nearly half the total shares in the Suez Canal Company from the bankrupt Egyptian Khedive, Ismail Pasha, securing a controlling interest in the trading route. Since Parliament was not in session at the time, Disraeli borrowed £4 million from the banking family Rothschilds, attracting much criticism from Parliamentary opponents, although he won popularity from the Queen and the public.