What was life like in 1990’s Britain?

What was life like in 1990’s Britain?

After the excess and power dressing of Thatcher’s 80’s, Britain catapulted into the 90’s with all the that the increased personal tech had to offer. Personal computers and windows operating systems threw us into the third dimension and the cyberworld of the internet. We watched Speed, Pretty Woman and Jurassic Park. Hanibal Lecter drank a nice chianti and ate fava beans! The theme of space continued unabated with Toystory, as every little boy dreamed of being Buzz Lightyear. J K Rowling had her first Harry Potter book published in this decade, a phenomenon that would launch us into the Wizarding World! So, what was life like in 1990’s Britain?

Major Events

As the cold war thawed, Britain shifted from a Conservative government to Labour. Tony Blair tripped the light fantastic into no 10. 1990’s Britain, known as an age of excitement, possibility, and chaos, saw a rise in multiculturalism and alternative media. With recession in the early 90’s and the tech bubble exploding later in the decade.

Britain joined US led forces to liberate Kuwait in 1991 and in 1995 Clinton visited Northern Ireland to help the peace process. On 10th April 1998, the Nationalists and Unionists signed the Good Friday Agreement, after 30 years of conflict. Meanwhile Nelson Mandela was freed after 25 years’ incarceration and Apartheid finally came to an end in South Africa.in 1994. We sent UN troops to Bosnia and former Yugoslavia and watched in horror as Romanian orphanages emerged from Caucasus clutches.


Britain drew closer to Europe with the Channel Tunnel opening in 1995. After more than 150 years of British rule, Hong Kong returned to Chinese control. That same year, 1997, the world mourned the shocking news that Diana, Princess of Wales, had tragically died in a car crash in France.


Mobile Phone from the 1990's

In an era of self-reflection, we railed against technology. Some even joined ecowarrior ‘Swampy’ and established a community of like-minded ecowarriors to live in the trees to stop the march of motorways. The World Wide Web developed and it became the decade of the cd rom, whilst Encarta killed our home tomes of the encyclopaedia Britannica. We upgraded our desktops to laptops and fought the battle of Windows with the Apple Mac. We all dreamed of joining tech giants like Apple and Windows and rebelled with Linux servers. Phone calls and text messages became incessant with smiley faces appearing on our ever-shrinking mobile devices. Designer babies emerged and the first gene therapy trials began.



With house music and acid House, the decade blurred through a haze of moral panics and e tabs mixed with the usual excess of teen alcohol.  We were serenaded by Whitney singing she would always love us, Oasis sang ‘Wonderwall’ , Blur, ‘Parklife’ and Billy Joel reminded us that ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’. British Bands made a big impact in America, including The Spice Girls and Radiohead.

Film and TV

Alongside some of the ‘Usual Suspects’, we were ‘Clueless’ and having the time of our lives, ‘Dirty Dancing‘. Top grossing movies ranged from spooktacular films like ‘Ghost’ and ‘The Sixth Sense’ to children’s favourites like ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Home Alone.’ We watched the ‘Titanic’ sink again, along with Leonardo di Caprio, who managed to resurrect himself once more as the ‘Man In The Iron Mask’. We took our lead from first couple, Homer and Marge Simpson, and wished we could be in the Central Perk with our Friends. Teenagers enjoyed American imports in the form of Beverly Hills 90201 and Dawson’s Creek. Reality TV began on MTV a genre that would really come to the fore in the next decade.

Home Life


What was life like in 1990’s Britain in the home? We decorated our bedrooms with Athena posters and Coca Cola signs and adorned our homes with a mixture of metal wall signs of times gone by. Nostalgia of more innocent times abounded as we were catapulted tumbling into an ever connected cyberworld. Our 80’s mullets and perms relaxed and grew out as we tried to iron our curls out and bleached! Designer labels prospered, for example, Tommy Hilfiger and Nike Air Jordans. Popular toys included Power Rangers and Hacky Sacks. People enjoyed playing Trivial Pursuit and snacking on Doritos! The fast and furious pace of the 90’s took Britain towards the precipice of a new Century.


Here at Sweet and Nostalgic, we have a great range of 1990’s gift ideas. Come and have a look! Our products are sure to give you a warm nostalgic flavour for this wonderful decade. Our range covers the whole of the 20th Century. There is something for everyone interested in the most influential century that the world has ever known.






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