British society notes 1951-2007

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British society notes 1951-2007

1951 – 64

·         Britain in 1951 was a country still moulded by the second world war

·         There was wide spread visible signs of war damage

·         Wartime rationing was only just coming to an end

·         Young men had to spend 2 years in national service

·         Much of British social life looked like the past

·         Regional and class loyalties where strong; it was usually easy to recognise people’s origins and social background from their dress or accent

·         These class attitudes were reinforced by the familiar stereotypes that featured in films and on the radio

·         Yet again British society in 1951 was not static or frozen in time

·         The experiences of the war had caused significant social change; so had the introduction of the welfare state in the post-war years

Demographic change, 1951-64:

·         3 key factors created demographic change in Britain after 1951

·         The first was health and life expectancy

o   Birth rates ran consistently ahead of death rates throughout the post-war era

o   Medical treatment improved under the welfare state; standards of nutrition and hygiene also improved steadily

·         The second factor was inward migration

o   There was a continuing flow of arrives from the Irish Republic

o   Starting in 1948 about 250000 immigrants arrived in Britain from the west indies and other parts of the new commonwealth

·         There was also considerable outmigration from Britain

o   In the 1950s, Australia was particularly keen to attract new citizens, offering assisted passages and help with jobs and housing

o   There was also a steady flow of British emigrants to North America

o   In the 1950s Britain received a total of 676000 immigrants seeking permanent residence, while 1.32 million left for a new life abroad

·         Population change was not only a question of numbers

·         It was also a matter of how and where people lived

·         The difference in town and country was much more sharply drawn

·         The countryside was still dominated by agriculture and rural areas were not yet faced by the creeping urbanisation that was to threaten village life latter on

·         Most people lived in communities with a strong sense of local identity, close to their extended families

·         This situation was about to change, as various forms of social mobility, above all the impact of mass car ownership, started to drain the population away from town centres

·         Britain’s infrastructure was run down and badly needed modernising

·         Another important factor is housing

·         There was a desperate need for housing development to replace war damage and deal with the decay of house stock that had been neglected for the previous decade

·         From 1951, the conservative government set the ambitious target of building 300000 new homes every year

·         Local…

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