Turbulent Times: Politics, Culture and Society in Britain 1970 to 1979

127 TUTOR: Peter Street

This course explores the pivotal role which the decade's challenges and crises played in shaping late 20thcentury Britain. These include the consequences, at the outset, of more market-oriented economic policies, trade union legislation, industrial disputes and pay policies, the oil crisis, debates over retaining membership of the European Economic Community and devolution. You will also consider developments in medical science and engineering, responses to concerns over the environment, the position of women, same sex relationships and multiculturalism. The literary, visual and performing arts feature alongside leisure and popular culture, including food and eating out, holidays, cinema, sport, television, hotpants, skateboarding and Punk. Memorabilia welcome.

Course Notes

Day One

1970-1979 overview; a political outline of the 1970s

Nationalist challenges and the devolution debate in the 1970s

Day Two

Towards the 'Winter of Discontent (1)': economic and Industrial policies, 1970-1974

Britain and 'Europe'1970-1979

Day Three

Towards the 'Winter of Discontent (2)': economic and industrial policies, 1975-1979

Looking on 'the bright side of life': fashion, retail, holidays in the 1970s; the Silver Jubilee

Day Four

Environmentalism, science and technology
Questions of identity: 1970s Britain as an increasingly multicultural/polygender society

Day Five

Education, religion, the Arts and popular culture, 1970-1979



It is not necessary to be familiar with the subject but should you wish to read ahead/afterwards, you might find (the relevant chapters/sections of) one or more of the following helpful:


A Beckett When the lights went out: Britain in the 1970s

J Black Britain since the seventies: politics and society in the consumer age

CG Brown Britain since 1707

P Clarke Hope and glory: Britain 1900-1990/2000 [depending on edition]

T Lloyd Empire, welfare state and Europe: 1906-1992/2001 [depending on edition]

A Marwick British society since 1945

D Sandbrook State of emergency 1970-1974

D Sandbrook Seasons in the sun 1974-1979



Course Tutor

Peter Street

About Peter

Peter has contributed to the Marlborough College Summer School since 1992. He is an Oxford University graduate in Modern History, a qualified teacher and has taught history in higher and adult education for over forty years. Most of Peter's teaching was for Birkbeck College (University of London) and the Open University. Peter has also  lectured for NADFAS, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Trust, the Historical Association and history societies generally.

Join our e-newsletter for all the latest Summer School news and a reminder when bookings open

Gift vouchers

Request a brochure

Summer School Entertainment 2023


Outdoor adventuring

When it comes to Summer School courses, Outdoor Adventures has become something of an icon. We...

More News

Summer School Dates for 2024

All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM