20th Century London

Ref: C3741107

This new course explores a momentous epoch in London's history which saw the death of Queen Victoria and huge expansion. Whereas the Victorians had built railways and the underground, 20th century London created new tube networks and suburbs, characterised as 'Metroland'. Along the Great West Road, ‘hi-tech' industries were developed, e.g. the art deco Hoover Factory. London extended its global reach with the construction of massive new docks e.g. King George V and the first international airports, Heston and Croydon. London's influence was enhanced by the establishment of the BBC which harnessed the airwaves to broadcast to the world. After the upheaval and destruction of two world wars, the old certainties rooted in Victorian achievement and optimism gave way to the new challenges and protests of the 1960s. Traditional values were questioned and a new society emerged, typified by youth culture, multiculturalism, 'swinging London' and Carnaby Street fashion.

Course aim

The course aims to illustrate, to interpret and to discuss the immense structural and social changes that London experienced in the twentieth century, concentrating on the period from the death of Queen Victoria until the 'swinging 60s' and beyond.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • Students need to have a natural interest in London to be prepared to explore London's modern history.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Successfully recognise and describe key aspects of London’s 20th century development
  • Critically assess sources of London history for their relevance
  • Demonstrate in discussion an understanding of the functional and architectural aspects of London’s fabric
  • Discuss and evaluate the social, cultural and economic components of London's 20th century development
  • Convincingly communicate an understanding of London’s unique identity by use of concrete exemplars

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • The tutor will use photograph and film evidence of London in the teaching process and will invite class discussion of the content Your queries, comments and contributions during the class will be welcome

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will have opportunities to present any personal or family evidence that you may have of London's history The tutor will set a quiz and will comment constructively on your answers individually

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • It would be helpful to acquire and to study a large scale map of London

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Suggested reading: White, J. 2001 'London in the Twentieth Century'. London, Viking Suggested website to access: The Museum of London website https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london

What can I do next?

  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information http://pearl.open.ac.uk/
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here http://www.wea.org.uk/learn-wea/what-can-i-do-next
  • Visit the Museum of London, 150 London Wall (St Paul's or Barbican Underground) Visit the London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza (Covent Garden Underground)

Download full course outline

20th Century London Course Outline

Enrolment Conditions

You can enrol online if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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