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A Companion to Early Twentieth-Century Britain

Chris Wrigley (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-99882-3 December 2007 Wiley-Blackwell 608 Pages


This Companion brings together 32 new essays by leading historians to provide a reassessment of British history in the early twentieth century. The contributors present lucid introductions to the literature and debates on major aspects of the political, social and economic history of Britain between 1900 and 1939.
  • Examines controversial issues over the social impact of the First World War, especially on women
  • Provides substantial coverage of changes in Wales, Scotland and Ireland as well as in England
  • Includes a substantial bibliography, which will be a valuable guide to secondary sources
List of Contributors x

Introduction xv

Part I British Political Life

1 The Conservative Party, 1900–1939: From Crisis to Ascendancy 3
Philip Williamson

2 The Liberal Party, 1900–1939: Summit and Descent 23
Michael Bentley

3 The Politics of the Labour Movement, 1900–1939 38
Duncan Tanner

4 The Politics of National Efficiency and of War, 1900–1918 56
G. R. Searle

5 Scottish Issues in British Politics, 1900–1939 72
I. G. C. Hutchison

6 Wales and British Politics, 1900–1939 87
R. Merfyn Jones

7 Ireland and British Politics, 1900–1939 102
D. George Boyce

8 Women and Politics, 1900–1939 118
Christine Collette

Part II Britain and the World

9 Immigrants, Sojourners and Refugees: Minority Groups in Britain, 1900–1939 137
Anne J. Kershen

10 British Foreign Policy, 1900–1939 152
G. H. Bennett

11 The British Armed Forces, 1900–1939 167
David French

12 The Empire, 1900–1939 182
Martin Kitchen

13 The British Economy and the Empire, 1900–1939 198
B. R. Tomlinson

14 Britain in the International Economy, 1900–1939 212
Tim Rooth

15 The State and the Economy, 1900–1939 229
M. W. Kirby

Part III Social and Economic Developments

16 The City of London and British Banking, 1900–1939 249
R. C. Michie

17 Agriculture, Agrarian Society and the Countryside 270
Peter Dewey

18 Transport, 1900–1939 286
Colin Divall

19 Industry and Services: Employment and Unemployment 302
K. D. Brown

20 Industrial Relations in Britain, 1900–1939 319
Arthur J. McIvor

21 Social Structure, 1900–1939 337
Andrew Miles

22 Consumption and Consumer Behaviour 353
Sue Bowden

23 Social Welfare: Public and Private, 1900–1939 373
Keith Laybourn

24 Housing and Town Planning, 1900–1939 388
Helen Meller

25 Medicine and Public Health, 1900–1939 405
Steven Cherry

26 Education, 1900–1939 424
Roy Lowe

27 Crime, Police and Penal Policy 438
Clive Emsley

28 Leisure and Sport in Britain, 1900–1939 453
Peter J. Beck

29 Religion, 1900–1939 470
Stuart Mews

30 Culture in the Sceptr'd Isle 485
Anthony Sutcliffe

31 The Impact of the First World War 502
Chris Wrigley

32 Britishness 517
John K. Walton

Bibliography of Secondary Sources 532

Index 568

"The essays are readable and accessible, and ... provide an introduction to early twentieth-century Britain for students who will benefit from the 35-page bibliography of secondary sources." Economic History Review

"Wrigley's volume offers thirty-two essays on various aspects of British history between 1900 and 1939. Both the cast of contributors, and the variety of topics they cover, are impressive ... This is an excellent volume, comprising strong essays ably held together by the editor. It will be of considerable value to students and their lecturers." Andrew Thorpe, University of Exeter

  • Thirty-two original essays provide a reassessment of the period 1900-1939
  • Covers political, social, and economic history
  • Examines controversial issues over the social impact of the First World War, especially on women
  • Includes substantial coverage of changes in Wales, Scotland and Ireland as well as in England