Bombs, Beveridge and New Beginnings

Ref: C3670376

We will look at the Five Great Evils identified in Beveridge's report and examine how the modern Welfare State was set up to tackle them.

Course aim

To give students an understanding of how inter-war developments and WW2 impacted on social change and led to the establishment of the welfare state. To develop students' personal research skills through studying a related topic of personal interest (optional).

Who is the course for?

No previous experience etc required. An interest in history will be useful.

What topics will this course cover

Learners will look at events of the 1920s and 30s and the social and welfare problems these revealed. We will examine each of the Five Evils in the Beveridge Report and trace the problems these reveal. We will particularly examine housing, unemployment and health reform, looking at thinking and campaigning in the years before WW2 and how these were reflected in the establishment of the modern welfare state in the 1940s. We will also look at the legacy of those issues and how they still play a role in our expectations of the welfare state today.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

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

List three pieces of social welfare legislation that laid the foundations of the modern welfare state in Britain Describe the "Five Giant Evils" listed in the Beveridge Report Explain how the 1942 Beveridge Report was received, and its impact Discuss the sources and causes of opposition to the setting up of the welfare state Describe some of the limitations and legacy of the welfare state

How will I know I'm making progress?

Informal assessment though Q&A sessions, quizzes and regular review of Individual Learning Plans. Individual tutor feed-back.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

A notepad and pen will be helpful for making notes.

Reading and information sources

To be provided by the tutor at each session. Handouts of any presentations etc will be provided.

What could the course lead to?

Further history-related courses. Contributing to local or family history publications and websites with research outcomes.

Download full course outline

Bombs, Beveridge and New Beginnings Course Outline


You can 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 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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