UCL European Institute


The Strange Survival of Liberal Britain

06 June 2023, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

The Strange Survival Of Liberal Britain flyer

In-person public event co-hosted by UCL European Institute and EISPS

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Claudia Sternberg


Roberts Building 421
Torrington Place

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

    More about the speakers:

    Vernon Bogdanor CBE is professor of government at the Institute of Contemporary British History, King’s College London. He is a fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Historical Society and the Academy of Social Sciences and an honorary fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

    Heather Jones joined University College London as Professor in Modern and Contemporary European History in 2018, having previously worked at the London School of Economics and Political Science where she was Associate Professor in International History. Heather works on war cultures 1880-1945. Her main research expertise is on the First World War. She is a particular specialist in prisoner of war studies, and on the British monarchy and the First World War.

    Mark Connelly has broad interests in modern military history and warfare, culture and society. He is particularly interested in the commemoration of the two world wars with a specialism in the work of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission. He is also interested in popular perceptions of war and the armed forces in Britain and the Commonwealth from the mid-19th century. He has broad interests in modern military history and warfare, culture and society.

    Claudia Sternberg is a scholar of European and international politics. She is particularly interested in political power or authority, and the role that ideas, ideologies, and stories can play in shaping the relationships between citizens, peoples, and their states or international organisations. She has written in particular on the European Union’s struggle for legitimacy, and how ideas around its democratic credentials have changed and clashed over time.

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