Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

Prime Ministers and No.10 Downing Street 1945-79

Key information

Subject area:

Stackable Microcredentials

Course type:

Assessed Module

Credit level:


Credit value:



10 weeks

Available course dates:

From: 23 September 2024 To: 13 December 2024
Application deadline: 12 August 2024

Course overview

This module, run in partnership with No. 10 Downing Street, examines how British Prime Ministers governed in the years 1945 – to 1979. This core module and its partner module from 1979 - the present day, are the flagship modules of The Strand Group and were in our previous incarnation as The Mile End Group. The module started in 1992 as ‘Cabinet, Premiership and the Conduct of British Central Government since 1945’. It was created by Professor Peter (now the Lord) Hennessy to analyse the mechanics of government and utilise his extensive contacts to being the foremost practitioners into the classroom. 

The modules now are led by Professor Jon Davis, alongside co-teachers Dr Michelle Clement, Dr Jack Brown and Martin Stolliday. Special attention is given to the memoirs and diaries of the prime ministers, cabinet ministers and senior officials involved in managing the central machinery of government, as well as first-hand testimony from a selection of highly relevant and high profile guests. Classes take place within No. 10 Downing Street itself, and guest speakers have included former Prime Ministers Tony Blair, David Cameron and Theresa May, the former Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary Peter Hill, Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield and Cabinet Secretaries Lord Heywood, Lord Wilson of Dinton and Simon Case.

What does this course cover?

This module aims to do the following:

  • Identify and recognise the British Prime Ministers from 1945 – 1979
  • Provide an understanding of the institution of No.10 Downing Street, Cabinet Government and the structure of government
  • Compare and contrast different Prime Ministerial styles and modes of operation
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the causes of political decision making, reflecting upon personalities, processes and policy choices
  • Devise and construct in assessment an understanding of Prime Ministerial power.
  • Appraise and assess Prime Ministerial performance using different metrics.

What will I achieve?

By the end of the module you will have:

  • A detailed understanding of how successive Prime Ministers governed from 1945-1979
  • A deep and informed understanding of the interaction between different key personalities, policies, politics and processes that explain how government really works and has worked in the UK context
  • Acquired a deep and evolving understanding of the constantly-updating literature and ultra-contemporary historiography of these years
  • Gained experience of using primary and secondary sources as a means of analysing the history of No.10 Downing Street
  • Acquired a detailed understand of how No.10 operates currently and in the past; including trips to the very heart of government to gain an understanding of the size and ethos of No.10 Downing Street
  • Undertaken a detailed investigation of at least one theme associated with this subject, using secondary and primary sources, to produce a finished piece of analysis.

Who will I learn with?

Jon Davis

Jon Davis

Director of the Strand Group

Michelle Clement

Michelle Clement


Who is this for?

The standard entry requirements comprise: 

  • A 2:2 honours degree or international equivalent
  • A CV and personal statement outlining your reasons for study
  • English language band B (for example, IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in each skill).

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed via the following:

  • Coursework (5,000 word essay) = 90%
  • Participation = 10%.

What is the teaching schedule?

This is an on-campus module so you will be expected to attend in-person. Exact days and times will be provided upon enrolment.

Further information

​This module is offered as part of our flexible master’s awards in Professional Development. The awards are one of the most flexible currently offered in the UK, providing the opportunity to study a range of modules from across King’s, both on-campus and online. Whether you are looking for a promotion or to retrain, you have come to the right place.   

Designed for mature professionals juggling life and work commitments, our postgraduate awards will enable you to study at your own pace. In challenging financial times, you are also able to fund your studies module-by-module.   

We will support you to select the right module diet that meets your objectives while ensuring that you are well prepared for success. We will also help you to build your professional network of peers from across our suite of CPD modules.  

We can’t wait for you to continue your lifelong learning journey here at King’s

Course status:


Full fee £5000



Offered by