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The Strange Survival of Liberal Britain

Book launch

Vernon Bogdanor's new book The Strange Survival of Liberal Britain re-thinks the two turbulent decades prior to the First World War that have previously been seen as one of decadence, of the strange death of liberal Britain.

Between 1895 to 1914, Britain’s political landscape was changed for ever. It was a period of transition from aristocratic rule to mass politics and heralded a new agenda which still dominates today. The issues of the period – economic modernisation, social welfare and equality, secondary and technical education, a new role for Britain in the world – were complex and difficult. Indeed, they proved so thorny that despite the efforts of the Edwardians they remain among the most pressing problems we face in the twenty-first century.

In this wide-ranging and sometimes controversial survey, Bogdanor dispels the myth of decay and instead argues that this period set the scene for much that is laudable about our nation today. He demonstrates that the robustness of Britain’s parliamentary and political institutions and her liberal political culture, with the commitment to rational debate and argument, were powerful enough to carry her through one of the most trying periods of her history and so make possible the remarkable survival of liberal Britain.


  • Vernon Bogdanor, Professor, King’s College London
  • Heather Jones, Professor in Modern and Contemporary European History, UCL
  • Mark Connelly, Professor of Modern British History and Head of School, University of Kent
  • Chair: Claudia Sternberg, Head of Academic Programmes, UCL
6 Jun 2023 London, United Kingdom