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Britain: British Society 1931-1951 - The Impact Of The  Depression 1931-39

In GCSE History students will look at British Society in different periods. One timespan covered is from 1931-1951, and one aspect studied is the impact of the Great Depression.

British society was hit hard by the depression of the 1930s. Britain was one of the first countries to be affected by the Wall Street Crash in 1929. As the USA greatly restricted imports a trading nation like Britain was bound to feel the impact. The 1929-31 Labour government fell under the pressure of the slump and a coalition tried to cope with the aftermath.

Learn more about the impact the Great Depression had on British society in this informative quiz.

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  1. What was the official total of jobless in Britain by 1932?
    The unemployed were mainly from old heavy industrial trades like iron and steel, textiles and ship-building
  2. One of the worst hit areas in England was Jarrow in the North East. Why did this area suffer an unemployment rate of 60%, a similar rate to that in Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales?
    Jarrow continued to be an area of high unemployment throughout the 1930s
  3. The coalition government that followed the Labour administration of 1929-31 was composed of Conservatives, Labour Party figures and some Liberals. By what name is it better known?
    Many Labour supporters never forgave Ramsay MacDonald for splitting the Party by joining with the hated Tories
  4. The new government was able to offer certain benefits to unemployed people. However, potential recipients had to satisfy the authorities that they genuinely needed the relevant payments. How did the government establish this?
    The good news was that benefits were available: the bad news was that intrusion into privacy - in one way or another - was involved
  5. The Special Areas Act of 1934 designated certain parts of the country as liable for special assistance. Which of the following regions was so designated?
    While some areas were extremely distressed, others remained prosperous
  6. Seebohm Rowntree continued to research the extent of poverty in York. He found that a substantial percentage of local people still fell below the poverty line. What percentage was this in the 1930s?
    York had one or two principal employers but the rate of poverty there hardly changed during the 1930s
  7. John Boyd Orr conducted a famous study of diet in England, written up in his report of 1936. According to him what proportion of people had a poor diet?
    Boyd Orr's research was thorough and reflected ongoing problems - depression or no depression
  8. In 1936 marchers from Jarrow set off for London on their "Hunger March". What task did they carry out when they reached the Houses of Parliament?
    The march reached its destination, and thus achieved one of its aims
  9. The prime minister at the time of the Jarrow March was Stanley Baldwin, a Conservative. How did he personally react to the presentation of the Jarrow Marchers' petition?
    This was a difficult one for Baldwin. He did not wish to appear unsympathetic, but he also was unwilling to appear to be giving in to pressure
  10. Which political party was strongly involved in the National Union of Unemployed Workers, despite having very little electoral clout?
    The mainstream Labour Party hesitated to identify itself with the NUUW, leaving the way clear for other groups to get involved if they wished to

Author: Edward Towne

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