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1964: Mods and Rockers jailed after seaside riots

VIDEO : Mods explain `Mod culture'

Scores of youths have been given prison sentences following a Whitsun weekend of violent clashes between gangs of Mods and Rockers at a number of resorts on the south coast of England.

Yesterday two youths were taken to hospital with knife wounds and 51 were arrested in Margate after hundreds of teenagers converged on the town for the holiday weekend.

Dr George Simpson, chairman of Margate magistrates, jailed four young men and imposed fines totalling 1,900 on 36 people.

Three offenders were jailed for three months each and five more sent to detention centres for up to six months.

Obscenities

In Brighton, two youths were jailed for three months and others were fined.

More than 1,000 teenagers were involved in skirmishes on the beach and the promenade last night.

They threw deckchairs around, broke them up to make bonfires, shouted obscenities at each other and at passers-by, jostled holidaymakers and terrified elderly residents.

At about 1300 BST Mods and Rockers gathered at the Palace Pier chanting and jeering at each other and threw stones when police tried to disperse them.

The teenagers staged a mass sit-down on the promenade when police, using horses and dogs, tried to move them on.

In Margate, there were running battles between police and up to 400 youths on the beach early yesterday morning. Bottles were thrown and two officers were slightly hurt.

Later, on the high street, around 40 young men smashed council flat windows and vandalised a pub and a hardware shop.

Last night, hundreds of young men and girls were still wandering around the resort long after the last train had left.

Police stepped in to prevent further violence and dispersed about 30 youths in leather jackets who marched up the promenade shouting "Up the Rockers!"

There were further clashes at Bournemouth and Clacton.

In Context
From the early to mid-1960s young, mainly working class, Britons with cash to spend joined one of two youth movements.

The Mods wore designer suits protected by Parka jackets and were often armed with coshes and flick-knives. They rode Vespa or Lambretta scooters bedecked with mirrors and mascots and listened to Ska music and The Who.

Rockers rode motorbikes - often at 100mph with no crash helmets - wore leathers and listened to the likes of Elvis and Gene Vincent.

Inevitably the two gangs clashed. The 1964 Whitsun weekend violence in Brighton was famously dramatised in the film Quadrophenia (1979).

In August that year police had to be flown into the Sussex resort of Hastings to break up fights between the two gangs.

But two years later, most Mods had turned their attentions to the burgeoning, more laid-back, hippie culture.


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