Setting Britain Free, 1951–5

  • Kevin Jeffreys
Part of the British Studies Series book series (BRSS)


For much of the British population, the Second World War finally ended in the early 1950s. Ration books could at last be thrown away as austerity gave way to the first stirrings of consumer affluence. Two great symbols of prosperity told the story. The number of motor cars increased from around 2.3 to 3.3 million between 1951 and 1955; and during the same period ownership of television sets quadrupled to over four million. Peace was restored with the ending of the Korean War, and several events during 1953–4 helped to kindle a sense of national well-being:

Everest had been conquered, an Englishman had been the first to run a four-minute mile, and England had regained, and then held, the Ashes. But far above these, in the summer of 1953, Queen Elizabeth II had been crowned in a flourish of peagantry and amidst bold prophecies of a new Elizabethan age.1


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Copyright information

© Kevin Jeffreys 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Jeffreys
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PlymouthEngland

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