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The world of the Edwardians


J.B. Priestley Britain 1912 - 1945 During the years between the turn of the century and the First World War, the glitter of rank, wealth and fashion was not confined ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The world of the Edwardians

  • The world of the Edwardians

  • J.B. Priestley

Britain 1912 - 1945
  • During the years between the turn of the century
    and the First World War, the glitter of rank,
    wealth and fashion was not confined to England..
    it existed with a considerable amount of
    cross-fertilization, assisted by a world press
    that employed more and more gossip-writers and
    photographers. But it was the English Edwardians
    who occupied and decorated the central position
    and did most to bring the myth of the Lost Golden
    Age into the twentieth century.

  • J.B.Priestley, The Edwardians, 1970

  • During the 1930's Priestley became very concerned
    about the consequences of social inequality in
    Britain, and in 1942 Priestley and others set up
    a new political party, the Common Wealth Party,
    which argued for public ownership of land,
    greater democracy, and a new 'morality' in
    politics. The party merged with the Labour Party
    in 1945, but Priestley was influential in
    developing the idea of the Welfare State which
    began to be put into place at the end of the war.
  • He believed that further world wars could only be
    avoided through cooperation and mutual respect
    between countries, and so became active in the
    early movement for a United Nations. And as the
    nuclear arms race between West and East began in
    the 1950s, he helped to found CND, hoping that
    Britain would set an example to the world by a
    moral act of nuclear disarmament.

The Ruling Classes
  • The Edwardian age was probably the last period
    in history when the fortunate thought they could
    give pleasure to others by displaying their good
    fortune before them.

The Working Classes
  • It was calculated in 1911 that the upper and
    middle classes, numbering between five and six
    million people, took two-thirds of the national
    income, while the working class of thirty-nine
    million existed on the remaining third. The
    lowest-paid of all workers were the women in the
    sweated trades, while the worst-paid men were the
    agricultural labourers, of whom there were
    650,000 in 1911 and whose earning wear often less
    than 1 a week.

  • W. Robson 20th Century Britain, 1983

  • Most women still held traditional
    roles in the home

The beginning of Modernism
  • High modernism - looking forward to a
    technological future
  • Futurism - belief in technology as a means to
    greater civilisation

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The Titanic as a symbol of human achivement
World War 2
1945 Labour election
  • Socialist victory in 1945 - a change in national
  • The End of Empire - independence for India 1947
  • British Commonwealth begins

The End of an Era
Into this uncertain world steps Priestleys
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