History - British Society from 1951-1964

A2 History revision cards exploring change and continuity in British society between the years 1951-1964. 

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Education

CHANGE

  • The Robbins Report in response to Labour's Anthony Crossland working on plans for Comprehensive systems.
    • It lead to a massive expansion of higher education. Existing universities grew in greater numbers.
      • New universities sprung up in Lancaster, Warwick, York and elsewhere, areas of greater social deprivation than the South.

ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATION (CONTINUITY)

  • British Establishment was still fed by Oxbridge graduates, people of very privileged backgrounds. 
    • Barristers, civil service mandarins etc. 
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Demographic change

CHANGE

  • Demographic change thanks to the Welfare state: Birth rates stayed ahead of death rates thanks to the NHS and good hygiene. 
  • Nutrition is good evidence for why demographic change occurred. 
  • Immigration to Britain - New Commonwealth citizens. 
    • In the 1950s, Britain received a total of 676,000 immigrants seeking permanent residence. 
  • Tory Government of 1950s set an ambitious target of 300,000 new houses to be built every year, Macmillan was housing minister at the time. 
    • The target was achieved.
    • Suburbanisation occurred. 
    • Roads (motorways became fashionable) were built. Many rural areas were isolated: BEECHING AXE

ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATION (CONTINUITY)

  • Urban dereliction was still prevalent in many inner cities, still lacking modernisation, still "war torn". - HOLLOWING OUT EFFECT
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Increasing affluence

CHANGE

  • Once reserved for the upper class, PRIVATE CAR OWNERSHIP became much easier for many to attain. 
  • Mini's were popular. Commuting became part of a great section of society.
  • Changed the ideas of holiday and leisure, much more in reach of the average Briton. 

CONTINUITY

  • Urban dereliction was still prevalent in many inner cities, still lacking modernisation, still "war torn". - HOLLOWING OUT EFFECT
  • Thus, not everyone benefited from this new found Post-War Boom affluence.
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The Media

CHANGE

  • Satire boom of the early 1960s shows a dramatic loss of deference towards the British 'Establishment' - That was the week that was (TW3)
  • Gang violence was portrayed chillingly in Anthony Burgess's 1962 novel "A Clockwork Orange"
  • 1961 Private Eye was established and rapidly gained a strong following. 

CONTINUITY

  • Mary Whitehouse led a backlash against the new 'immorality and depravity'.
    • Supported by the National Press. 
  • Regardless of change, much of middle Britain was socially conservative. 
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Immigration

CHANGE

  • Reconstruction required a labour pool. The realisation that Britain could no longer maintain her empire sparked a necessity strong labour pool to reconstruct Britain - ECONOMICALLY DESIRABLE.
  • Notting Hill Race Riots of 1958 - Serious violence stemming from '****** hunts' and pub brawls. 
    • Landlords exploited overcrowded housing - charging lots of money.
  • Uncertainty in New Commonwealth immigration. 

CONTINUITY

  • People believed in the idea of Commonwealth integration of immigrants in Britain - The Commonwealth Ideal.
  • No outright rejection of Immigration. 
  • Government reluctance to control New Commonwealth immigration through legislation. 
  • General feeling of tolerance and getting along within some communities.
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