Britain in the 1970s: HISTORY OF THE PERMISSIVE SOCIETY

Students in the History Department have been making use of the Modern Records Centre in their research for long essays and dissertations on the history of Britain in the 1970s. Here is a sample of what they have been doing:

Lucy Paull

When browsing the archives, I discovered that the Modern Records Centre has a collection of material on the National Campaign for Reform of the Obscene Publications Act (NCROPA).

MSS.76-12-16
MSS.76-12-16 [click to enlarge]
The collection interested me in regards to attitudes towards permissiveness and I thought it might be a useful point of departure for discussing changing attitudes in the 1970s and Mary Whitehouse’s National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Campaign. When I started looking at the collection, it became clear that the material was so interesting and plentiful that I could in fact base my entire dissertation on this movement alone. The collection consists of 37 files containing chronologically organised correspondence and background material from 1976 to the late 1990s, put together by the leader of the organisation, David Webb.  It is a fascinating collection, which allows a comprehensive overview of the organisation and gives unique insight into the man who doggedly pursued MP’s and newspapers to support and publicize his campaign as well as the society in which he worked. This collection has given me the exciting opportunity to gain a uniquely personal insight into a 1970s campaign group. The MRC has provided me with the direct inspiration and material to come up with a fresh perspective on the discussion on permissiveness in the 1970s.

MSS.76-12-16i
MSS.76-12-16 [click to enlarge]

For more information on using the MRC please see here.

Click here to search our catalogue. 

We also offer individual guidance sessions, where one of our experienced archivists will help you to find material relevant to your topic. For more information or to book a short session please see here.

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