Module Title

The United Kingdom from 1939 to the Present Day

Module Code


New or revised


NQF Level


Credit Value




Duration (weeks)


Date of Introduction

October 2019

Module Supervisor

Chris Walklett

Teaching Staff

Chris Walklett

Contact details for student enquiries

Mrs Becky Humphreys ( or 01206 872217)

Campus(es) to be taught on


Terms in which module is taught

Autumn  Y

Spring  Y

Summer  Y


Module Description


This module offers an introduction to the historical events and processes that have helped to shape the contemporary United Kingdom.  During the period in question the United Kingdom underwent a series of political and cultural changes that were to have profound effects on the society and economy of the UK, its status in the world, and its national perception of its changing world role. The module examines the principle causes and phases of change during this period and the effect these changes had upon the UK as a nation with particular emphasis on society/ the people of Britain.


The module will run over 22 weeks. Students will be introduced, over the course of the module, to a level of knowledge and analysis which will provide an appropriate academic background for those wishing to study other periods of history, and other Humanities and Social Science subjects, within the UK university system. As well as examining recent history, the module will develop the skills that will enable students to interpret information, think critically, assess evidence and undertake research. The module will help enhance and refine students' writing skills, oral presentation skills and test/exam taking skills and strategies.  


The module requires no prior knowledge of, or experience of studying, British history. 


Module Aims


§  To provide a firm foundation of knowledge and understanding of key developments in UK history during the period studied.

§  To introduce students to the workings of the British political system;

§  To develop students' ability to think critically and to analyse historical data from a wide range of sources, in order to construct and convey an argument, both oral and written;

§  To develop students' skills necessary for further academic study through the practice of seminar discussions, small-group work, academic exercises, seminar presentations, individual study, research, and reflective, critical reading;

§  To explain the use of historical terms and concepts;

§  To increase students' awareness of the many different approaches (chiefly political, cultural, social and economic) towards the study of history, and the provisional, ever-evolving nature of contemporary history;

§  To familiarise students with the academic working environment of a UK university through the study of history;

§  To acquaint students with what are – and what are not – accepted modes of academic discourse, the need to cite sources, and the paramount importance of avoiding plagiarism.

§  To enhance students' knowledge of and interest in history by preparing them for potential undergraduate study of the subject;

§  To increase students' awareness of the importance of an understanding of historical issues to enhance their future study of other humanities and social science subjects.

Learning Outcomes


By the end of this module a student will be expected to be able to:


1.     Demonstrate knowledge of key events in the history of the United Kingdom during the period under study including the most significant cultural changes within UK society and the UK's changing relationships with its key overseas partners and allies) and assess how that historical knowledge contributes to a thorough understanding of the contemporary United Kingdom.


2.     Demonstrate awareness of the workings of the British political system, and of recent (and ongoing) political debates.


3.     Engage fully with the study of history, and other Humanities and Social Science subjects, through the taking of lecture notes, the undertaking of independent study and active participation in seminar discussion.


4.     Apply the key skill of critical, analytical thinking to the examination of historical evidence from a variety of sources in order to then incorporate this analysis of evidence into written work, oral presentations and seminar discussions.


5.     Analyse assignment and exam questions, and research and construct an appropriate academic argument in response.


6.     Reference secondary and primary sources accurately and appropriately, and construct an accompanying bibliography.


7.     Summarise, comment upon and analyse historical arguments and debates in an informed and coherent manner in written work, oral presentations and seminar discussions to a level that will lead to potential success in Year 1 of a BA History or related Humanities or Social Science degree.




Week 2         What is History? What is Historical Research? What is the United      Kingdom? Britain in the lead up to WW2.


Week 3         Home Fires (World War 2)


Week 4         Attlee, Labour and the Welfare State (1945 to 1951)


Week 5         Thirteen Wasted Years? (1951 to 1963)


Week 6        The Short Sixties (1964-1969)


Week 7        Changing Relationships - Britain and the Wider World #1 (45- 69) 


Week 8        The 1970s -The Decade of Decline #1


Week 9         The 1970s -The Decade of Decline #2


Week 10       Changing Relationships Britain and the Wider World #2 (70-79)


Week 11       Class test (on themes from the Autumn Term 1939 -1979)


Christmas break


Week 16       The 1980s #1. A Revolutionary Decade?


Week 17       The 1980s # 2 The Them & Us Society.


Week 18           Changing Relationships #3 Britain and the Wider World (80 –PD)


Week 19           Identity I: Britain Nowadays: Class & the Establishment


Week 20           Identity II Britain Nowadays: Race, Ethnicity & Religion


Week 21           Identity III: Britain Nowadays: Gender & Sexuality


Week 22           Identity IV: Britain Nowadays: A Nation of 4 Nations!


Week 23           The 1990#s #1 A Major Solution?


Week 24           The 1990#s #2 Cool Britannia? Life in Blair’s ‘New’ Britain


Week 25           From Millennium to Coalition 2000-2009. AKA the Noughties


Easter break


Week 30          The ‘Twenty Tens’ - From Labour Exit to Brexit. 


Week 31          In Class test #2 (on themes from the Spring Term 1980 – PD)




Learning and Teaching Methods


This module will run over 22 weeks and will be delivered via a two-hour lecture and a two-hour seminar per week. Some lectures involve the viewing of audio-visual material; seminars involve whole-group discussion of the weekly topic and set reading, small-group work and oral presentations.


Moodle will be used to distribute module documentation and learning materials.   





100% coursework


Pass mark: 40%