Public relations and the making of modern Britain

Stephen Tallents and the birth of a progressive media profession
Anthony, Scott
Date published: 
February 2013

The story of public relations in Britain was shaped by the economic hardships of the inter-war years. It was a profession established by a group of liberal-minded officials, whose manner and methods would heavily influence post war organisations such as UNESCO. Central to the startling story of Britain’s early public relations pioneers is Sir Stephen Tallents, the inaugural President of the Institute of Public Relations. Tallents was a public sector entrepreneur who lent his patronage to John Grierson’s documentary film movement, the BBC Overseas Service, the development of Listener Research and the staging of the Festival of Britain. His intellectual imprint lingers on everything from the jubilee telephone kiosk to the V for Victory movement, from Night Mail to the Greater London Plan. A portrait of how the social, economic and media revolutions of the early the twentieth century reshaped national life, Public relations and the making of modern Britain reveals a country struggling to cope with austerity and crisis that is at once very different from, and yet surprisingly similar to, our own. The book includes a reprint of Tallents’ influential pamphlet, The projection of England (1932). This book will interest students and scholars of modern British culture, media studies, history and politics.