What is the course about?
This course explores the effervescent and tempestuous decades of the 1960s and 1970s, when the hopes and
aspirations of the post war generation ran up against the harsh realities of London’s declining status as an imperial
metropole. In the process of change from the booming early sixties to the stagnant seventies the ideals of welfare
state were challenged and the economy and society of London were remade by the replacement of new for old. New
ideas, new people, new buildings refashioned the cityscape. This course will open up debates about the
supposedly swinging sixties, the radical cultural and political underground, the mass rebuilding of parts of inner and
central London for offices, hotels and council flats, industrial decline and emergence of a new more ethnically plural
What will we cover?
From LCC to GLC: the reform of London government
• The long boom and the reshaping of the City
• Youth culture and the making of sixties London
• Rachmanism, gentrication and the creation of ‘inner London’
• The rise of the great car economy
• The social history of the tower block
• From Carnaby Street to Trafalgar Square and beyond: The swinging sixties’ political turn
• Sold down the river: the decline of the docks and traditional industries
• New Commonwealth immigration: from Nottinghill to Rivers of Blood
• Fighting back: Grunwick, Southall and the ANL.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Identify the forces that were shaping the economy and society of London in the 1960s and 1970s
• Describe the links between politics and popular culture in the 1960s and 1970s
• Engage in historical debate around the connections between government policies, town planning, transport and
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an `introductory` course and does not assume any previous study or reading although you will need a good
grasp of English to keep up with the course and to participate fully in discussions. You will gain more from the
course, in terms of enjoyment and learning, if you are able and willing to do some supplementary reading. As with
most of our history and current affairs courses, curiosity, an open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about
views with which you do not always agree are more important than specific levels of skills.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Classes will be taught through a mixture of illustrated lectures and discussion. Materials will include maps and
plans, drawings, formal and informal writings, using projected images and paper handouts.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring a pen and paper or electronic equivalents. Books and resources will be recommended throughout the course.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
HLW61: London change and challenge (1980s and 1990s).