The New Society

  • Brian Foster


Social, technical and economic conditions in Britain have changed at a tremendous rate since the ending of the first world war and indeed it is evident by now that science transforms man’s environment at a pace which is not merely rapid but swiftly accelerating. Throughout all the ages the elderly have lectured their juniors on the happiness of the old days and the decadence of present manners, but nowadays change is so rapid that anyone out of the first flush of youth tends to feel slightly out of date. The tramcar belongs to a former age and the steam locomotive is already a living museum piece, while there are those who speak of ripping up the railway lines altogether and replacing them by motorways. After the proud triumphs of the earphones and loud-speaker even wireless has taken on an old-fashioned air alongside the television set and is patronisingly alluded to as steam-radio — steam being a symbol of antiquity, one supposes. Technical changes have inevitably had their repercussions in the social and moral spheres, and it has been claimed with much reason that sexual morality has been greatly influenced by the invention of the internal combustion engine. Certainly it is true that in effect the world has shrunk because of easier means of travel and communication, so that in the realms of politics the average man is perhaps more conscious of events in the Far East or darkest Africa than his grandfather was of happenings in the neighbouring county.


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  1. 1.
    ‘Bra’ goes back to 1937 say C. Willett Cunnington and Phillis Cunnington, in their History of Underclothes (Michael Joseph, 1951), p. 242.Google Scholar

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© Brian Foster 1968

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  • Brian Foster

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