What was life like in 1960’s Britain?
The 1960’s was a decade of great social change. Music set the pace and songs from The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks and Dusty Springfield led the youth culture. So, what was life like in 1960’s Britain?
Challenges to authority made by programmes on the TV, for example, ‘That was the week that was’ with David Frost and Lance Percival, became a popular theme. Pushing the limits, rock musicals like ‘Hair’ and ‘Oh Calcutta’, included nude scenes! By the end of the decade, most families had televisions and the Telstar satellite made live Trans-Atlantic broadcasts possible. Television entertained the children with puppet shows such as Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Magic Roundabout. Science Fiction puppets Captain Scarlet and Thunderbirds thrilled youngsters and Doctor Who and the Daleks were ‘real’ enough to scare many young viewers to hide behind their sofas! BBC2 was launched in 1964 and in 1967 was the first channel to have colour. Comics were very popular including The Hornet, Jena and Twinkle to name just a few of many.
Fashion was influenced by Jean Shrimpton and Mary Quant, mini skirts became very popular, as well as florescent and bright geometrical patterns. Twiggy became a teenage model sensation. In 1966 the Daily Express named her the ‘Face of 1966’ and British Woman of The Year. By the end of the decade ‘Flower Power’ manifested itself in everything, from psychedelic fabrics, to peaceful rebellion and even hallucinogenic drugs.
The 1960’s had memorable headlines, for example, the death in 1965 of Sir Winston Churchill and the Great Train Robbery of 1963 shocked the nation. Meanwhile, the assassination of President Kennedy, on Friday 22nd November 1963, rocked the World.
There were a string of achievements in the space race, firstly with Russia sending the first man into space and then three weeks later the USA’s Alan Shepard went up. John Glen and Scott Carpenter orbited the Earth in 1962. The first space walks were made in 1965 and after more missions, the greatest achievement of the decade was the Moon Walk, by the Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969.
Supermarket shelves were filled with branded goods including frozen and chilled items such as desserts and yoghurts. Most homes by this decade had refrigerators to store their shopping for longer. So, the weekly shop came into being! Iconic brands like, Babycham, Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Fairy washing up liquid and Golden Shred remained popular on the shopping lists.
The MOD’s and the Rockers
The 1960’s was the time of the MOD’s and Rockers, who were two social groups of opposing cultures. The Mod’s were style-conscious and wore light suits and polo neck shirts and rode Italian Scooters such as the Lambretta and Vespa. The Rockers wore leather jackets and rode high octane motorbike of the day. Seaside towns, like Brighton, became the battle-fields with stand offs between the opposing groups.
Employment was high and most people had a reasonable income so consumerism increased. Holidays abroad became popular and many more people owned their own cars. Austin and Morris Mini cars endorsed by Peter Sellers, Lord Snowden and Twiggy became favourites! Paddy Hopkirk won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964 in a Mini Cooper and sales accelerated.
Barbie was a teenage doll that had endless clothes and accessories. Action Man came to the UK in 1966 and for many years was the most popular toy for boys. Space Hoppers were new outdoor playthings and brought great fun to children (and Adults !).
Nicknamed, ‘The Swinging Sixties’, it’s understandable why people felt free, bright and ‘modern’. Youngsters experiencing fewer responsibilities than their parent’s generation, enjoyed significant changes to sexual and political views.
Here at Sweet and Nostalgic, we have a great range of 1960’s Gift ideas. Come and have a look! Our products give you a warm nostalgic flavour for this wonderful decade. Our range covers the whole of the 20th Century so, there’s something on our site for everyone interested in the most influential century that the world has known to date.