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Title: 'Old habits persist' : change and continuity in Black Country communities : Pensnett, Sedgley and Tipton, 1945-c.1970
Author: Watkiss Singleton, Rosalind
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 5800
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis examines continuity and change in the three Black Country localities of Pensnett, Tipton and Sedgley between 1945 and c1970. The dominant historiography of the period suggests that the prosperity of post-war British society, the safety-net of state welfare provision and unprecedented levels of consumer spending mostly eradicated the inter-war behaviour patterns of individuals, families and communities. Utilising the oral testimony of sixty residents from the three localities, and supplemented by a range of primary sources, the thesis demonstrates that growing affluence impacted only marginally upon the customary social mores of the lowermiddle and working-class inhabitants. Whilst aspirations to new housing and increased consumption affected perceptions of status and social standing, the economic strategies of the pre-war period prevailed. The thesis evaluates the effect of affluence upon earning, spending and saving. It questions assumptions that the support of kinship networks, matrilocality and community cohesion disappeared as slums were replaced with new housing estates. It demonstrates that the Welfare State impacted little upon attitudes to income and employment and that the wages derived from formal employment were augmented by informal work, penny-capitalist ventures and illicit activities. It shows that despite embracing the consumer society, families within these localities adhered to traditional methods of shopping and the financing of consumption. The thesis challenges the work of a range of historians who have emphasised change over continuity in characterisations of British society in the post-war period and endorses Hoggart’s claims that despite post-war innovations “old habits persist”
Supervisor: Gildart, Keith ; Henderson, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Black Country ; Community ; Post-war ; Continuity ; Consumption ; Employment