This module will examine the ‘state of welfare’ through the Edwardian period, World War 1 and the inter-war years; and ask why the British state took the first steps to becoming a ‘welfare state’ in this period. It will examine social conditions through the period: poverty and wealth, health and health care, life expectancy , employment and unemployment, childhood and ageing, single parenthood, housing conditions, education. It will study the gradual emergence of a ‘Welfare State’ out of the Victorian Poor Law, with the introduction of old age pensions, redistributive taxation, National Health and Unemployment Insurance, new services for children such as free school meals, before World War 1. The impact of the war, then economic depression between the wars, on social conditions and welfare policies including unemployment relief, council house-building, improvements in education, health care, pensions. It will survey the continuing, important role of the voluntary sector and its close relationship with state welfare. It will examine the political, social and economic reasons for the emergence of state welfare: the emergence of the labour movement and the women’s movement, both demanding redistribution and improved social conditions; the belief that Britain’s economic and military effectiveness would be enhanced if the population was healthier, better educated, more secure; philanthropic concern about appalling social and economic conditions.
Module assessment - more information
The course is assessed by way of students preparing one essay of 4-5,000 words.