"the great Commission Reports"

A large number of investigative Commissions were set up in this period, with the task of examining a variety of social and economic questions, from the conditions at Broadmoor or among the agricultural workforce, to the causes of railway accidents and the state of sewers and roads.  After making their inquiries, the commissions wrote long, detailed reports to the government which have survived as highly useful historical sources.  Examples of these reports can be found here.