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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 May 2007, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Your 1960s: Life
Mini skirt and maxi skirt
The minis and maxis were popular
The Magazine is compiling a people's history of modern Britain - featuring your written memories and photos. We continue with the 1960s.

For many of you the 60s was about rock 'n roll and sexual liberation, while for others the hardship of the 50s lingered long and prevented them from enjoying the nation's rebirth.

Here is a selection of your observations about life in the 1960s.


Having to do your shopping by talking to people over the counter. Frozen milk which pushed the tops off the bottles. Being satisfied the Santa had actually come instead of how much he'd brought. Darned socks. Transistor radios. Being able to play in the street for the whole day hardly seeing a car. Bobbies on bikes. Having a Grandma that looked like a Grandma rather than a big sister. Rag rugs. Roller skates. Wearing clothes on the beach. Footballs with laces. Dad always wearing a jacket when he went out. Homemade go-carts. Prams with big wheels (pre go cart)
Brian Nelson, Sheffield

YOUR 60s MEMORIES
I was born in 1954, so the 1960s were very formative years for me. Free milk at school every morning in 1/3 pint bottles plus a waxy straw. Black-and-white TV, Watch with Mother, Sooty, The Buccaneers, William Tell, Ivanhoe. A feeling that something was not quite right, borne out by anti-Vietnam demos, industrial disputes, but all seemingly made bliss by the World Cup victory in '66. End of the decade I was hoping for some improvement. Still hoping...
John Dean, Kobe, Japan

I was born in Reading in 1967, came to Barbados in 1972, so my memories are hazy at best, however my parents told my siblings and I of the close-knit Caribbean communities which acted as a buffer from the prejudices that existed in the wider, white community of Great Britain. There was also a pride interwoven amidst the homesickness and the marginalisation, pride that came from a strict moral code instilled from the West Indies, deep Christian principles that guided them, that drove a strong work ethic and because of that, their contribution to the rebuilding of Great Britain after the World War cannot be emphasized enough!!
Alison Branch, Bridgetown, Barbados

Civil Service reform was a lower-profile change that came about, albeit reluctantly, in the Sixties. It was alleged that the Treasury didn't employ a single professional economist in 1961, certainly not at any senior level. The 1968 Fulton Report was an attempt to modernize the old class-based Clerical/Executive/Admin structure of Whitehall, although 'Sir Humphrey' managed to hold onto the reins of power for many years afterwards.
Peter Lewis, Geneva

In the early part, I was at school in Glasgow wearing short trousers and smoking in the school toilets. We lusted after girls outside the toilets but were spectacularly naive and unsuccessful. There was no bullying in schools but there were gangs who ganged up on people. I could play football every night in the street in the summer without being disturbed by cars. Cars didn't have synchromesh in first gear and police cars had bells. Policemen in Glasgow all seemed to be over 6 foot tall. I remember the variety theatres in Glasgow with very Scottish unexportable comedians. I rode the trams happily from one terminus to the other but recall the Glasgow bus drivers were notorious for driving in such a manner as to try to get you to fall out of the back of the bus as you were nearing your stop! Or driving off when you only had one foot aboard!
Gordon, Mexico

I was a child/young teenager in the 1960's and remember it as an exciting time. In those days there was still something to be proud about in being British. Our expectations were less so we were more content and it was before the advent of Human Rights activists and child psychologists so people grew up with some self discipline and were more content. We did not have to feel guilty every time we got in the car, switched on the light or had a gin & tonic or pint of beer. The only downside was that women had less freedom and married women, particularly mothers, were still expected to stay at home.
Marilyn Drawwater, Surbiton, England

For myself, the 60s started whilst I was still at primary school and finished in the lower sixth - so it was all about education, education, education: corporal punishment, bullying, brutal & non-pc behaviour by staff, British Bulldog in the playground, obligatory cross country running to finish off weekly sports sessions followed by compulsory showers that were either ice cold or scalding hot - never in between, homework and accompanying tears, and '11 Plus' & 'O Level' exams.
Paul Cobb, 53, Rowley Regis, West Midlands

I was born in 1951 so most of my teen years were in the 60s. When I think of the early 60s I think of going to grammar school and my mother buying my gabardine big enough so that it fit me right through 6th form. Getting a transistor radio and listening to Radio Luxemburg. Trying to get in to Top of the Pops when it was taped in an old church in Manchester. The Mersey Sound. Denim skirts and striped sailor tops. The death of Skiffle groups and the rise of electric guitars. Woolworths' flavoured lipstick that came in pink, red, orange or beige, and gold nail polish that looked like nicotine stains.
Jane George-John, Antigua, West Indies

I was born in 1955 in the workhouse - otherwise known as St David's hospital. Our first house was in Riverside, but we were always at my nana Mary Ann's House in Peel Street, Docks, perhaps better known as Tiger Bay. My late grandfather Walter was from Barbados, my nana Mary Ann from the Welsh valleys. My mother was from the Channel Islands, of French descent, so we were a truly mixed- race family. And yet I can't really remember any real racial or racist problems. We were probably the first mixed family to move into the then-new Llanrumney, but we didn't seem to have any problems. At my schools I can't recall any serious problems either, even though I was invariably (for he first few years anyway) the only non-white kid.
John Sinclair, Cardiff, South Wales

I remember going to work in London in 1967 and looking to find somewhere to live. Most adverts for letting advertising in newsagent windows stated 'No Irish, no blacks need apply'. I was very lucky finding a very good English family to let rent one of their rooms. My age was 20 years and it was the fist time I was away from home, in another country
Frank Collins, Londonderry

It was a time when elderly people were respected, where teaching had some integrity and teachers were well thought of, where there was one gun related murder a year and the culprit duly hanged. We spent our money on rebuilding the families that had been displaced by the war. Our main concern was to get a job, learn new skills build a better future. A time when we were able to enjoy the freedom earned by the efforts of our fathers.
Jack Clare, Canterbury

I was at primary school in the 60s. We were issued with bright orange armbands, which we hated and had to wear during the double daylight saving experiment. We lived near the Raleigh factory in Nottingham and hordes of workers on their bikes would whiz past us in the mornings, ringing their bells. At school, I remember scary toilets with fixed wooden seats and high level cisterns with deafening flushes,Izal hard toilet paper and pink disinfectant that magically appeared in the loos every morning (it was known as monster's wee, because of the monster that lived in the girls' toilets). I loved the Peter and Jane Ladybird books we learnt to read from. The illustrations were beautiful and Peter and Jane seemed to have such an idyllic life, helping Daddy sort out apples in the hayloft and going on trips in the "motor car".
Sue, Lincoln

Entering the 60's, I was 8 years old. Memories of the sixties - The Beatles (of course). Flower Power came and went. Radio Caroline, Radio London and the other pirates. Sunday lunchtimes listening to Round the Horne, the Navy Lark and then ISIRTA on the Light Programme. The 3 mile trip riding on the top deck of the bus from school to home - trying to sneak a cigarette and hoping there were no prefects around. My first pint. And the second. And all the rest. Buying a round of pints for 6 people - and getting change from a 10 shilling note!
Alan Coulson, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

I was 15 at the start of the decade. Radio Luxembourg provided the only evening music programs - no radio 2 then. I remember the original pop shows: Boy meets Girl, RSG etc. I lived in Plymouth and when, in February 1967, Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever was released, I was knocked out! Strawberry Fields was my playing area in Liverpool and then I discovered that John Lennon had been to the same school and had lived just along the road from me! College in the 1960s was really hard work, and my student grant (remember those) started at 12 for one term! Despite the hardships, I wish that I could travel back to tell my earlier self how to do things better.
Lawrence Harris, Southampton, UK

Nursing training, 8 per month plus keep, more money than ever had at one time, midwifery in Cornwall, days off on helston river with jazz and cider, bought 1st car, bright red mini, first love affair - we traded in mini.
Jean Ainsworth, Stafford, England

Possibly the most important thing that happened in my life was taking the 11+ test. Amongst my community, and especially my friends, it was considered very 'elitist' to go to Grammar school, and there was scorn and derision hurled at anyone who passed the test and went there. Interestingly, at the time it didn't mean a thing to me, I think it was more a parental thing! The other major thing was the NHS. It's only by looking back that I can appreciate it, because good medical care was out of bounds even to my parents. The NHS didn't even exist when my eldest sister was born. Scary! I passed, by the way, and was thereby alienated from some of my mates :-(
Paul Smith, Bolsover, Derbys

At school, 63ish a few people started growing their hair long and caused much amusement. I was under instruction with my 1s 6d to have a short back and sides but could get away with a neck shave. This would later be a problem at work as the training officer regularly stopped to say get your hair cut. My hair was never more than an inch long but it was beyond bounds for some people and one department refused me entry for having my hair too long in the late 60's. I refused to change and was put elsewhere. Thankfully, my employer seemed only concerned about the way I did the job.
Pete Mulch, Lancashire

My memory's of the 50s and 60s are of the kids next door coming round to our house to have a bath in our massive bathroom our neighbour's loved our bathroom, But me and my brothers and sisters used to hate it, all that water could not be good for you it's not normal, well that's what we thought at the time we were very lucky indeed inside bathroom and toilet, after I had done my work I could play out until half past six on school-days Sundays seven o-clock I can remember getting a ten-bob note for my birthday it took me two weeks to spend it? I can safely say I cannot remember our front being locked, we had a drain in the middle of our backyard mom would put a rag down the drain and fill the yard with water kids from all round would come to paddle the fun we used to have. Words can't express
Peter Hodgson Birmingham England

The Sixties were exciting, dull, fearful and sometimes downright boring. I left school in 1962 without any qualifications, but got a job with the local Co-op through my teacher. Unemployment was in the unprecedented 500,000 region, so we took what we could. I must say, that my 4 a week was considerably more than the shipyard apprentices who were earning the princely sum of 2 10 shillings per week! That autumn was the Cuban Missile crisis, and believe me, we all thought there would be a nuclear war. Thank God it was resolved peacefully. The first James Bond movie was the real catalyst for Swinging Sixties, and the Beatles really were a unique phenomenon, there like will never be seen again. One of my abiding memories of 1966 was set of World Cup stamps with England Winners overprinted on them at the end of tournament. The moonwalk of 1969, was to me, overrated (Philistine), and I must be one of the few people who missed it live.
Norman Errington, North Shields, England, U.K.

The first time I went to Europe was in 1969. My first impression of it was flying in about to land in Heathrow. I remember vividly all the green land I could see from my window. I can still remember exactly what I felt when travelling in Regent Street towards the hotel. London gave me the feeling of a strong, masculine - without sexual connotations- city. As a youthful 21-year-old I could not wait to go to Carnaby Street. It was not until I went there the following day that I could really feel that I was in the swinging era and in the swinging London.
Ernesto Tapia, Mexico City, Mexico





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