The 1930s to the Second World War
This room presents two eras: the 1930s and the Second World War, which began in 1939 and lasted until 1945. Many of those represented, from politicians and military leaders to writers and performers, made significant contributions to Britain’s war effort. The 1930s was a decade of contrasts, when scientific innovation developed and the leisure industries grew. However, mass unemployment, unrest and protest enabled the political extremes of fascism and communism to gain support. In Europe, the spread of Nazi politics and anti-Semitism forced people from their homelands, including some of the artists and sitters in this room. The Second World War affected the lives of people from across the British Empire, whether they were members of the armed forces or on the home front.