The People: Working-class life in postwar Britain, 1945-1979

Current research: Selina Todd

The ‘working-class’ are demonised and romanticised in equal measure today. My research is exploring how this situation came about. I’m interested in the changes that occurred in ordinary people’s lives after the Second World War, a period of great social, cultural and economic upheaval. Alongside studying how welfare changed living standards, I’m investigating how ordinary people became heroes of the stage and screen. Manchester and Salford are ideal for this – I’m investigating the ‘Busby Babes’ and the success of Shelagh Delaney’s play and film ‘A Taste of Honey’. In doing so, I’m asking how it was that the working-class stopped being seen as paupers and became seen as ‘the people’, whose experiences and attitudes were the focus of political action and academic study. As well as studying films, novels and employment data, I undertook – with researcher Hilary Young – oral history interviews with 20 respondents from Coventry and Liverpool. We’re indebted to the Economic and Social Research Council who have funded all this. Now I’m trying to write up a book about it. For more information see:

Editors Note: This is an archived blog post from 26/10/2009


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