Fifties Britain through the senses: ‘never had it so good’?

Teaching History article

By Maya Stiasny, published 7th July 2023

Evaluating social change and continuity in post-war Britain through a sensory lens

Maya Stiasny was faced with difficulties familiar to many of us. Her new Year 12 students were struggling to get to grips with a new period of history. They were not interrogating primary sources with sufficient vigour. Her solution, detailed here, was novel. Working on the rich social history of post-war Britain, she decided to embrace some of the techniques of sensory history. She asked her students to use a sensory lens to build the picture of their period. She created an anthology of sources through which they might build a rich picture of the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and textures of a Britain which may – or may not – have never had it so good...

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