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London 1600-2000: people and power in the making of a global city


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Mike Berlin
  • Assessment: a 500-word primary source analysis (17%), 500-word modern scholarship summary (17%) and 2000-word essay (66%)

Module description

For centuries London has acted as a nodal point in the process of global integration and the movement of goods and people. In this module we explore how:

  • London-based institutions and individuals have been crucial in the creation and unmaking of a worldwide empire
  • London's physical fabric, demographic make-up, economy and culture have been shaped by this experience.

Since 1600, London went from being the capital of a relatively peripheral nation state into the centre of a far-flung political and commercial empire. A vast network of exchanges developed based on the exploitation of peoples and resources, and centring on the City of London and its port. This network generated the wealth that enabled the industrialisation of Britain and the integration of London into an emerging global economy. Indeed, London became the centre of that economy and was to remain so until the British Empire began to weaken in the wake of the First World War. Since then London has been reshaped by war and imperial decline but has re-emerged as a global centre, though in very different conditions to earlier centuries.

We will explore in depth the place of London in the process of:

  • global integration
  • empire building
  • deconstruction.

At the same time, we will look at the local effects of globalisation to build up a comprehensive picture of the development of the modern metropolis.