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20 Century British History

Alix R Green
In 1977, the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) was blacklisted for breaching the Labour government's pay controls under the Social Contract. As the Callaghan administration struggled to establish economic credibility, extending its reach into the private sector emerged as a political priority. JLP became a test case of government resolve months before the Ford strike of autumn 1978 that ushered in the Winter of Discontent. This article uses JLP records to create a more nuanced picture of the tensions, contestations, and vacillations of pay policy in the late 1970s...
February 7, 2019: 20 Century British History
Stefan Ramsden, Rosemary Cresswell
First aid was the focus of growing voluntary activity in the post-war decades. Despite the advent of the National Health Service in 1948, increased numbers of people volunteered to learn, teach, and administer first aid as concern about health and safety infiltrated new activities and arenas. In this article we use the example of the Voluntary Aid Societies (VAS, focusing in particular on St John Ambulance) to highlight continuities and change in the relationship between state and voluntary sector in health and welfare provision during the four decades after 1945...
February 3, 2019: 20 Century British History
Maria Nita, Sharif Gemie
Four free pop festivals, held in Windsor and Watchfield in 1972-75, attracted significant public attention. This article discusses the aims and ideals of the festivalgoers, the confused reactions of the authorities, the ambivalence of the Anglican Church and the hostility of some conservative groups. We argue that the free festivals mark an important stage in the constitution of the counterculture and that they created a model which later pop festivals (in particular Glastonbury) attempt to emulate. We show that themes relating to a revival of the pilgrimage experience became important markers of this new type of event, shifting the emphasis from political protest to a memorialized and performative activism...
January 17, 2019: 20 Century British History
Tobias Harper
Harold Wilson's resignation honours list of 1976 was almost universally condemned by politicians, civil servants, and the press because it contained a number of high honours to individuals who were seen as scandalously lacking in merit. Unknown officials leaked details to the press and used multiple internal mechanisms, including the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee, to try to block the list, but Wilson pushed it through. This article examines the controversy around the list in terms of how the various parties involved used ideas about scandal, honour, and merit to discredit Wilson, his secretary Marcia Falkender and the honours nominees...
December 22, 2018: 20 Century British History
William Butler
This article considers the breakdown in discipline in the British Army which occurred in Britain and on the Western Front during the process of demobilization at the end of the First World War. Many soldiers, retained in the army immediately after the Armistice, went on strike, and some formed elected committees, demanding their swifter return to civilian life. Their perception was that the existing demobilization system was unjust, and men were soon organized by those more politically conscious members of the armed forces who had enlisted for the duration of the war...
December 13, 2018: 20 Century British History
Stephanie Ward
This article explores working-class women's experiences of political activism in the Labour Party in the 1930s. The article focuses upon the relationships formed with leaders, the bonds with fellow women, and the emotional fulfilment politics could bring, rather than considering the policies and campaigns which drew women into the party. It suggests how working-class women performed a political self which was shaped by but distinctive from a domestic self. Official political party materials from across Britain are drawn upon to uncover how working-class women in the years after equal franchise was won carved out a political space and the meanings of activism...
December 11, 2018: 20 Century British History
Alistair Fair
This article augments the literature on the British experience of planning by examining attempts to plan the hospital system between 1962 and 1977. The Hospital Plan for England and Wales of 1962 proposed the construction of a suite of new 'District General Hospitals'. Underpinning this proposal was a belief in the value of standardized designs and construction methods, both of which were subsequently investigated in detail by the Ministry of Health and the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS). The history of this project reveals the challenges of putting centralized planning into practice...
December 1, 2018: 20 Century British History
Gary Love
Dorothy Crisp is known for being the militant Chairman of the British Housewives League (BHL) after the Second World War, but historians have failed to recognize that her views and actions were the culmination of over twenty years of right-wing journalism and political activism through which she tried to influence the Conservative Party. This article re-evaluates Crisp's Conservatism and her political career. It asks why such a powerful pro-Conservative female activist failed to secure a place within Conservative politics during the 1930s and the 1940s...
November 17, 2018: 20 Century British History
Ruth Davidson
Child benefit was seen by some to encourage the sort of welfare dependency that the moralistic individualism of Thatcherism opposed. Yet, surprisingly, the benefit survived the Thatcher years. Its survival reveals the conundrum the Conservative party have had regarding benefits for the family and family policy more broadly. Neo-liberals were supportive of the family as a vehicle for reinforcing Conservative values. Yet, the late 1970s and 1980s were periods of social change where the traditional family of the Conservative imagination was breaking down and consequently 'family policy' became a key political theme...
November 9, 2018: 20 Century British History
Jacob Bloomfield
This article will examine how a series of theatrical shows which starred casts of cross-dressing ex-servicemen achieved critical and commercial popularity in interwar Britain despite increased cultural anxieties about the links between gender variance and transgressive acts, behaviours, and categories of identity. Prior to this study, historians have researched wartime concert parties where servicemen cross-dressed for each other's entertainment, but scant attention has been given to the popular phenomenon of ex-servicemen who performed cross-dressing revues for the general public...
October 31, 2018: 20 Century British History
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 5, 2018: 20 Century British History
Deborah Cohen
This lecture explores the shared terrain between the new international history and the history of emotions. In the summer and fall of 1942, American foreign correspondents played a key role in sparking a furore over British rule in India. Drawing on their own first-hand reporting from India, they depicted the British Empire as retrograde and abusive, a dangerous, destabilizing force and a threat to the post-war peace. Diagnosing what it called 'a new landslide of anti-British feeling', the British Ministry of Information spearheaded the formation of high-level, interdepartmental, secret committee charged with the task of figuring out how to reconcile Americans to the British Empire...
September 1, 2018: 20 Century British History
David Cowan
In 1948, worried that young people would take full employment and the welfare state for granted, the Labour Party trialled a new slogan: 'Ask your Dad'. This slogan encouraged the young to learn about the hardships which their parents had experienced in the inter-war years, largely under Conservative governments. Using archived interviews and letters sent to the press, this article provides the first study of the popular reception of this slogan. Most people had not heard of this slogan, and most of those who had heard of the phrase showed no knowledge that it was associated with politics, turning instead to popular culture...
September 1, 2018: 20 Century British History
Linsey Robb
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 1, 2018: 20 Century British History
James Thompson
This article reconstructs the visual culture of politics in Edwardian London through a study of the 1907 London County Council election. It moves beyond the memorable account given in Graham Wallas's Human Nature in Politics to examine the actors, especially associations and newspapers, that participated in the election. Drawing upon newspapers, election addresses, cartoon, leaflets, and posters, the article argues that Edwardian London was a prime site in the application of new media for political communication...
September 1, 2018: 20 Century British History
Sarah Mass
This article argues that the traditional retail market-a ubiquitous commercial feature of British towns and cities-produced a particular strand of heritage politics in late 1960s and early 1970s Britain. In recovering the activists involved in two campaigns to 'save the market' from redevelopment-one unsuccessful campaign in Bradford and one successful campaign in Chesterfield-I make the case for thinking through local urban heritage movements in comparative terms, focusing on how place-based citizenship collided with a nascent, national 'anti-development' mood in the early 1970s...
September 1, 2018: 20 Century British History
Keith Gildart
This article explores esoteric identities and cultures in the British Parliamentary Labour Party c1929-51. The historiography of the Labour Party has tended to overemphasize the one-dimensional nature of ideological affiliation and identity amongst Labour Members of Parliament in this period along the lines of a rather simplistic left/right dichotomy. Moreover, some historians have suggested that after 1918 particular socialist traditions and currents had become marginalized or dissolved once the party had developed a clearly defined constitution and the experience of political power...
September 1, 2018: 20 Century British History
Emma Barrett
This article shows how elite stockbrokers Cazenove and Co. responded to the 'Big Bang' deregulation of the financial sector in 1986, using social networks and inherited practices to navigate an ostensibly technical and modernizing revolution. The Thatcher administration's reform of the London Stock Exchange was an economic enterprise intended to end restrictive practices and open the City to competition. A more open meritocratic financial sector marked the 'death of gentlemanly capitalism' and coalesced with a political agenda for entrepreneurialism and popular capitalism...
August 10, 2018: 20 Century British History
Gregory Rawlings
The British Nationality Act (BNA) of 1948 was designed to provide a form of supranational citizenship to accommodate the separate nationality provisions that were beginning to proliferate as a result of constitutional change within the late empire, decolonization and the formation of the Commonwealth. Under the provisions of the BNA, members of the Commonwealth would continue to be unified by transnational forms of citizenship, at least in principle. The Act aimed to cover every political arrangement conceivable in the late empire and early Commonwealth and contributed to the transformation of Great Britain into a multicultural society, by providing the legal vehicle for immigration into the UK in the second half of the twentieth century...
July 31, 2018: 20 Century British History
Aaron Andrews
From 1968, the central government established a series of area-based initiatives that operated on the basis of 'positive discrimination' towards the social needs of local residents. Over the course of the next 10 years, this area-based positive discrimination became an increasingly important part of social policy in Britain. This article uses Glasgow as a case study to show, first, how both the local and the central government attempted to define the problem of 'multiple deprivation' in the 1970s. Second, it shows how social studies were used to locate multiply deprived communities within urban areas, thereby feeding into the identification of the 'inner city' as a policy problem...
July 3, 2018: 20 Century British History
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