Economic History of Modern Britain 1870-2000

First year module

This module examines the principal debates in British economic history from the late Victorian period to the start of the 21st century. The major running themes are the changing structure and performance of the domestic economy, the role of the state in economic development, and Britain's changing position in the world economy.

Particular consideration is given to the economic growth record; the rise of the service sector; the origins of the north-south divide; the role of economic ideas in shaping domestic policy; the rise and fall of sterling as a major international currency; the impact of war, depression and globalisation on Britain's international trade and financial position; and Britain's changing economic relationship with its Empire, with Europe and with the USA over the course of the twentieth century.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Understand the main features of British economic performance between 1870 and 2000
  • Understand Britain's changing place in the world economy between 1870 and 2000
  • Understand the major shifts in economic policy that have occurred over the same period
  • Be able to engage in critical debate on the causes and consequences of these changes


  • 2 hour unseen examination (60%)
  • 2x class tests (20% each)