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The module is co-taught by Dr Jack Brown of KCL and Visiting Professor Tony Halmos, who ran the Corporation of London’s PR for over 20 years.

The module makes great use of practitioner-led teaching, with students getting a chance to engage directly with key London leaders. Previous special guests included: Sadiq Khan, current Mayor of London; Lord Edward Lister, Boris Johnson’s Chief Strategic Adviser and former Mayoral Chief of Staff; Dame Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police Commissioner; Sir Peter Hendy, former Transport for London Commissioner; and many more.

Alongside seminars at King’s, classes also took place at City Hall, the City of London’s ancient Guildhall, and on the 30th floor of One Canada Square in Canary Wharf. There can surely be no better way for students to understand how this world-leading city works than by engaging with those who have been responsible for running it and experiencing it directly.

This year also sees the introduction of a ‘Mayor of London’s Prize’. The three highest scoring essays on this module will have the opportunity to be read by the Mayor of London’s office, who will then award the ‘Mayor of London’s prize’ for the best essay. The next seven highest scoring essays will also be considered if the Mayor’s interest is piqued by the titles. Students can choose whether to enter or opt out of this prize. The winner will receive the title and a message from the Mayor of London himself.


Course Details


Department and staff member: DPE and Dr Jack Brown

Duration: 10 weeks

Which programmes will offer the modules?:

Will the modules be compulsory for any programme, or just optional?: Optional

Module level: Level 7 (PGT)

How many credits is each module worth?: 15

Contact hours: 2 hours a week

Assessment: 1000-word extended essay plan, 4000-word essay.

Which semester(s) will it run?: Autumn



Proposed course structure by week


  1. London: A Pre-History (up to 1900)
  2. The London County Council (1900-65)
  3. The Greater London Council (1965-86)
  4. The GLC abolished (1986-2000)
  5. Mayor of London/GLA I (Ken Livingstone, 2000-2008)
  6. Mayor of London/GLA II (Boris Johnson, 2008-2016)
  7. The City of London
  8. London and the Rest of the UK
  9. London and the World
  10. Managing Constant Change



Educational aims


The educational aims of this module are to provide students with:


  • A detailed understanding of London’s political, economic and social history throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries;
  • Historical knowledge of the differing models of London government, why they have changed, and their relative merits and demerits;
  • Understanding not only of the policies and processes that have driven change in London, but also of the role that key personalities have played in its development;
  • Context for deeper understanding of contemporary issues faced by today’s London, as well as other major cities and the rest of the UK;
  • A specialism in the historical context of their own chosen area of London-related policy.



Learning outcomes of the module


At the end of the module, students will have:


  • Acquired a detailed understanding of the main issues and events that shaped London’s political, social and economic history from 1900 to the present day;
  • Acquired a detailed knowledge of the academic debates around London’s governance that persist throughout the period studied to the present day;
  • Gained experience of using primary and contemporary sources as a means of analysing the history and the machinery of London government;
  • Gained a specialism in the historical context of a specific, self-chosen policy area relating to London, through the researching and writing of an essay on their chosen topic. This in turn will inform their understanding of the current challenges faced in this area as well as explaining its history;
  • Gained experience and developed skills in interviewing and debating with practitioners;
  • Gained experience and developed key skills in researching and presenting on a chosen topic related to London.