From Factory to Dream Factory

Author, journalist and TV presenter, Dr Dominic Sandbrook delivered this term’s Senior Medley Lecture.


14 March 2019

Author of seven books including The Great British Dream Factory, journalist and TV presenter, Dr Dominic Sandbrook delivered this term’s Senior Medley Lecture and held his audience of Upper School and Sixth Form girls as well as staff and parents enthralled as he explored how Great Britain has reinvented itself as a cultural superpower after the fall of the British Empire, from the impact of the novels of Agatha Christie and J.R.R. Tolkien to the music of the Beatles and boarding school heroes such as James Bond and Harry Potter.

Dr Sandbrook hardly drew breath as he made the case for how Britain went from being seen as a ‘nation of shopkeepers’ renowned only for our industry and stiff upper lip to dominating the world in terms of popular culture, whether it be in music, literature or film. He argued that Danny Boyle’s vibrant and quirky opening ceremony, which provided such a spectacular start to the London 2012 Olympic Games really summed up our post-empire national identity through its many references to pop music, storytelling, industrial history and popular culture.

Prior to the lecture, Mr Sandbrook ran a workshop for a group of Sixth Form girls about the 1983 General Election which they are studying as part of the A Level Politics syllabus.
Head of History and Politics, Mr. William Lane said, “Mr Sandbrook’s lecture really made us think about the legacy of the Empire on our national identity and how British popular culture has replaced our industrial and imperial legacy. On behalf of everyone who attended, I would like to thank him for a fascinating and thought-provoking lecture which really did inspire some interesting discussions amongst the girls after the lecture.”

View the photos from the Senior Medley Lecture

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