What was life like in 1970’s Britain?

What was life like in 1970’s Britain?

This was a decade of disruption which started with the monetary change from pounds, shillings and pence to decimalisation, a huge challenge for everyone. So, what was life like in 1970’s Britain?

Significant Events in Britain

The 1970’s, a decade of strikes, including postal workers, miners and dustmen which ended with the ‘winter of Discontent’ when ITV went off air for five months. A three-day week launched in 1972 to save on electricity because of the miners strike. The country entered the Common Market after an overwhelming ‘Yes’ vote. The Arab-Israeli war in 1973 caused a shortage of oil and as a result petrol prices soared, inflation reached 26% by 1975. Unrest in Northern Ireland escalated this decade. In 1971 the first British soldier died in the ‘Troubles’, just under a year later, the British army kills 14 in Londonderry, on what became known as ‘Bloody Sunday. A drought in 1976 resulted in a severe water shortage and water restrictions were implemented. 

Music and Fashion

British culture from the 1970's

Pop-music influenced fashion first with glam rock and then punks who wanted to shock with their cropped hair and sculptured, coloured hair. At the end of the decade skinhead culture emerged with crew cuts and ‘bovver’ boots. Men and women wore flared trousers and platform shoes. On one end of the scale were hot pants and the other end were maxi coats and dresses. Designer labels started to appear on the outside of the garments to make a style statement.  Music artists  David Bowie, Abba, contrasted significantly with The Sex Pistols and The Clash in style and sound.

Television and Films

After the success of Coronation Street on the television other ‘soaps’ hit the screens, for example, Crossroads, based in the Midlands and then Emmerdale Farm, from the Yorkshire Dales. Children’s programmes featured Rainbow and Bagpuss whilst  adults enjoyed On the Buses, Kojak and The New Avengers. 

Jaws the Movie

After a decline in the 1960’s people to return to the cinema. The quality and realism of films improved significantly. There was Dirty Harry played by Clint Eastwood, The Godfather with Marlon Brando, The Last Tango in Paris and Cabaret starring Liza Minelli. Who ca forget Steven Spielberg’s film Jaws with it’s gripping music? John Travolta strutted his stuff  in Saturday Night Fever and Grease, a massive hit with youngsters. Star Wars won seven Academy Awards, including one for visual effects.


Fab Lolly

The wonderful summer of 76′. Water shortages, hose pipe bans, and everyone flocking around the Ice Cream Van when they came around! Brands like Fab and Rocket Ice lollies soared in popularity, though my favourite will always be the ’99’. Technology advancement saw VHS videos, microwaves and the Sony Walkman appear in more homes. Barbie and Cindy rivalled each other, whilst Action Man remained a hit with the boys. 


The era of global travel began with the first Boeing 747 jet landing in Heathrow in 1970. Concorde, the fastest passenger aeroplane came into service in 1976. Built by Britain and France it could travel at 2,100 km per hour. Popular cars included the Aston Martin, Triumph TR7, two door Capri and the MGB GT (1978).

Here at Sweet and Nostalgic, we have a great selection of 1970’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. Consequently, there’s something for everyone interested in the most influential century that the world has known to date.

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