At the time of the Beast series, the British Empire had divisions between the social classes that were like impenetrable walls. A person remained in the class into which she or he was born. Members of the upper social classes generally saw those in the lower classes as inferior and deserving of the struggles that came with their lower status.
John Sexton was born into the Knight class of the British social structure. Mick Kelley’s father and family were in the laborer class, the lowest class. It is sad to say, but without the extreme circumstances in his life, John would never have become mates with Mick or Zhong. There would have been no interaction between them.
Below are excerpts from Wikipedia that list the social classes of Great Britain in 1886.
…19th] century British society, like its European neighbours [was] divided into a caste system… the hereditary transmission of occupation, social status and political influence…. the Parliament [British government] was organised on a class basis, with the House of Lords representing the hereditary upper class and the House of Commons representing everyone else… the British monarch is … at the top of the social class structure…
[The British social class categories are listed below.]
|Cottagers and labourers||…Lowest order of the working castes; perhaps vagabonds, drifters, criminals or other outcasts would be lower.|
|Husbandman (or other tradesmen)||A tradesman or farmer who either rented a home or owned very little land was a husbandman. In ancient feudal times, this person likely would have been a serf, and paid a large portion of his work or produce to the land-holding lord.|
|Yeoman||The yeoman class generally included small farmers who held a reasonable amount of land and were able to protect themselves from neighbouring lords … They played a military role as longbowmen. …|
|Gentry/gentleman||The gentry … held enough assets to live on rents without working, and so could be well educated. If they worked it was in law, as priests, in politics, or in other educated pursuits without manual labour. The term Esquire was used for landowners who were not knighted…|
|Knight||… a knight was a senior member of the gentry [and] a large land owner, and his younger sons would often be lawyers, priests, or officials of some sort.|
|Baronet||A baronet held a hereditary … knighthood, giving the highest rank below a peerage.|
|Peer(Noble/Archbishop)||The peers were generally large land holders, living solely off assets, sat in the House of Lords and either held court or played a role in court.|
|Royal||A member of the royal family, a prince, a close relative of the queen or king.|