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Last Updated: Friday, 8 June 2007, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
More 1970s memories
Rainbow
Was it a golden age of television?
The Magazine is compiling a people's history of modern Britain - featuring your written memories and photos. We started with the 1950s and the 1960s and now focus on the 70s.

It was the decade of strikes, electricity shortages and piles of rotting rubbish on the street.

There was more to the 1970s, such as music, fashion and long, hot summers.

Here is a selection of your comments about what the 70s meant to you.


A great time to live in Britain. Probably the last time there was real working class solidarity but mixed with a spirit of freedom and ingenuity and a sense that you could progress upwards. None of the stress and uncertainty that there is today. People stuck together and a great sense of togetherness and humour was all around despite what they say. You had Bowie and Slade. No real bullies and no knives and guns. If it wasn't for the establishment and their own brand of racism Britain would have been perfect.
Redstruggle, Cardiff

I remember Chinese and Indian Takeaways starting to open in our town and new, more interesting foods starting to appear in the supermarkets. I remember my mum and dad having fondue parties - all dressed up in their posh clothes with Blue Nun wine for extra sophistication. I remember a brief fashion for wigs in the early 70s. My mum suddenly was all bouffant and curly instead of mousey and flat I remember all our male teachers smoking strong cigarettes outside during the break-times. I remember going to football matches at Luton Town and being terrified of the other fans. I got injured a couple of times. Many memories from that time. Not a particularly happy decade for me.
Glenn Nicholls, Leighton Buzzard, Beds

Looking back the 1970s were drab, boring and altogether naff. The clothing was awful and the music worse. But the turmoil created politicised young people. a youth club in a small fishing town of Saltburn would regularly get 150 kids aged 15-20 on a Sunday night discussing politics and third world issues to the strains of Bob Dylan and other protest musicians. It was there that I began to discover what I thought of myself and my position in society. It was because of this group that I eventually gave up electronics and read for a degree in Economics as a mature student years later. Everyone had a political position. It wasn't the 1960s, the issues were not civil rights - it was anti authoritarian because it was the authoritarians who had made such a mess. It was the 1970s that gave me a sense of what was fair, a drive to fight injustice and an unwillingness to follow those in authority.
Mike, Porthmadog

One of my strongest memories of the 70s was the Silver Jubilee buses in Edinburgh in 1977. It was a real treat to get on one as a nine year old it felt like a close link to the royalty.
Tony Fairbairn, Durham

It's hard to sum up a whole decade, and people's memories will be very subjective anyway, but for me, as a schoolchild, what I remember most about the 70s is just the whole bleakness of the times. The going to school, in the dark, being a number, lack of any kind of hope for 'us.' Even as a young child you couldn't really sense any aspiration. Punk for me rounded up the period nicely, and later the "smashing up the woodwork tools!" line from the popular Beat Combo 'Madness' said it all for me. For a 70s schoolchild - there seemed little else to do! And politics! - I remember talking about politics to schoolmates, around 1973, as a seven-year-old! - about Ted Heath's government! I doubt very much this would happen now!
Jason Mudge, Winchester

For me the 1970s starts with living through the three-day week, doing my homework by candlelight, and losing my Saturday job because of it. The next main event was in April 1974, when my father moved from his job in the British Civil Service to the European Commission in Brussels. My mother and I joined him after I'd finished my O Levels in July that year. From the word "go" we all had a wonderful new experience. The friends and colleagues of my parents' generation (born during the late 1920s) from the then 12 member states working in Brussels deeply believed in what the EEC stood for - "no more war in Europe. Co-operation, community and friendship". They lived those values. The referendum on whether the UK should stay in or out was nail-biting for us. Luckily the people of the UK voted to stay in. The sense of being European made a great impression on me - which is why I've lived and worked in Paris for the last 10 years, and work for an international company. The decade ends for me with the Silver Jubilee. It also means the fading of the rock super groups and the rise of punk rock - giving way to the New Romantics. It's Motown, Reggae, David Bowie and Rod Stewart. The Eagles and Queen. And the fashion was terrible: Platform shoes, long smock dresses (Laura Ashley) and tartan.
Hilary Ellis, Neuilly Sur Seine, France

Everyone remembers the hot summer of 1976 of course, but do as many remember the harsher winters? Don't forget though how tedious Sundays were as a child with no shops open, and very little on TV for children. We think of rip off Britain today, but things were more expensive then compared to wages.
Jamie, Leeds

I grew up in Middlesex, which no longer exists and became part of west London in the 70s. I was at school during the whole of the 70s, and one clear memory I have is of trying to do homework by candle light during the many power-cuts, and also, of a games teacher saying to me, while I was struggling with learning how to play netball' 'Not like that, you spastic'! Imagine what would happen if a teacher used such a term to abuse a pupil today! An insult to those with cerebral palsy as well as to me. Anyway, put me off games and sport for a long long time! The other thing I remember is long hot summers and camping trips to the south coast!
, Thisted, Denmark

TV was very permissive, yet strangely innocent, in those days. Benny Hill, The St Trinian's Films, Up Pompeii, all on network TV before the watershed!
Amos Parr, Stamford, Lincs,UK

While not wishing to airbrush out the bad times I must say it was a much less complex, cynical and hectic world than the one we now inhabit. The music was vastly superior too, and we had real characters in football; Hudson, Currie, Mackenzie, Marsh, Worthington etc. The fashion was tacky but it's good to look back and laugh at yourself.
SB, Manchester

I started teaching in 1971, in the London Borough of Ealing. There were 40 children in each class. Every child still had a small bottle of milk at morning break. Children were taken by bus or coach from Southall, where there were not enough school places, to schools all over the Borough, making it a long day for them. No National Curriculum - we concentrated on teaching children to read, write and understand the four rules of number. Artwork played a big role, especially in project work which also included History, Geography and Science (or Nature work). There were usually 3 sessions per week of PE or games. In 1973 I taught in another school which had its own indoor swimming pool (funds raised by parents) where with 2 swimming lessons per week, the Infant classes had some form of PE every day and all could swim well by the age of eight.
Pat Coverdale, Sandhurst, Berkshire

Despite all the industrial unrest and the 'winter of discontent' I remember the 70s as some of the happiest of times. I married, bought my first car, became a father, left the RAF and started earning some real money for a change. We used the terminal gratuity (1200 pounds) as the deposit on our first home - a small maisonette in Ruislip. Until I read the article at the top of this page, I had actually forgotten all about the political chaos. Along with the laughter of the children, it is the music, flares, platform soles and big hair that spell "1970s" in my mind.
Frank Bowron, Hatfield

We couldn't afford a car for a while so went everywhere on my motorbike. Luckily for us the summer of 1976 was made for bikers! The 1970's must be the decade of the worst cars ever - the Marina, the Allegro etc etc. A friend bought a brand-new Rover 3500. It broke down within 500 yards of the dealer. The joke at the time was that the dealer had to have each new owner followed around by a breakdown crew in a Mercedes van - the British vans weren't reliable enough!
Mac Eddey, Beaminster, Dorset, UK

I grew up in the 70s, being born in 1965. I loved the security that the early 70s gave us. I grew up in a mining village in the North East and can only remember worrying about the IRA which was on the news a lot but was far away. The music was brill and I loved my flares. We then moved into the chaos of the 80's....
Lorraine Lumsden, Faringdon, Oxon

I was 18 in 1976 and I started work at the Financial Times in the advertisement department which was based in Braken House in Cannon Street. There were 14 different unions "chapels" represented in the building. Memorable journalists were Richard Lambert who used to wear a brown corduroy jacket and John Lloyd who was not keen to write on some "Surveys" as their main purpose was to generate advertising revenue.
Stephen Cooper, Woodbridge

I went to university in 1975. One memory is of train journeys. Sitting in a smoking carriage with my thoughts, a four pack of beer, 20 B&H and the Telegraph crossword. No iPods or mobile phones. Just peace; and sometimes even peace of mind.
Jon, Manchester, UK

I grew up in Plymouth and remember the 1970s as being a time of personal freedom. By the time I was 17, I had a "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" mentality and a hatred for any form of authority. I left school at 15 and started work as a trainee buyer at a department store, which was a carbon copy of Grace Brothers in "Are you being served?" I was soon suffocated by the old pre-WW2 management. I dropped out of society, started clubbing & drinking, staying up late with the help of my mother's slimming tablets. I discovered I could get a Giro for 5 a week for doing nothing, so I did. I was outspoken, arrogant and reckless. My grandparents were horrified, perhaps my mother was secretly envious, because I was able to act in a way that the shackles towards women in the 1950's had prevented her from doing at the same age. I dressed to get a reaction and be noticed and I was. Everything on the news was as dull as the 40 watt bulbs we used. TV programmes were for the middle-aged and starring the middle-aged. Something had to give. I was on the Kings Road, Chelsea in 1976, buying some clothes from a shop I had found in 1974 called Seditionairres, formerly Sex and Let it Rock. I saw strangely attired, exotic boys and girls with extreme hairstyles and pins sticking out of their faces, walking along the road and stared hard. I realised they were more outrageous than me and my own days of rebellion ended there and then. These alien beings would help to bring in a much needed new tidal wave of change which would alter the people and the country forever - they were called Punk Rockers.
Lorraine Martin, Cheltenham

I'm so tired of this "wasn't it better in the good old days" rubbish. It wasn't! No DVD, computers, internet. Medical care was poorer, dentists, butchers and summer holidays often one big drag. Cartoons on TV were better and so was TV in general (no BB or other reality tripe). Perhaps fewer rules but there were union strikes, winter of discontent, three-day weeks and in 1975 music was so dire it was unreal. Then punk came along...thankfully. We've got much better chances now...if only we knew it.
Steve, Leeds

I loved the 70s as England was still England before Thatcher destroyed the semblance of cohesive community, before the white flight from London built upon what was once a green and pleasant land, before the beast of greed was unleashed upon us all.
Stuart, Scilly Isle's

I used to live in London from the mid 70s and wonder how many people have memories of gay life in London from 1975 to 1980. Does anyone remember the Coleherne, the Bolton, Le Gigolio on Kings Road?
Patrick Murphy, Mexico City

I vividly remember the Queen's Silver Jubilee in June 1977 in so much as I was totally opposed to the monarchy, its cost and all its doings. I was especially incensed by the censorship of the Sex Pistols "God Save the Queen" single and the refusal of the charts to recognise that it was actually the number one record during the Jubilee week. It was the first time I realised how much of a strain it can be if you hold a minority but sincerely held view.
Philip Roberts, Gwynedd





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