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Describe Popular Culture in Britain at the Beginning of the 1960's

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Describe Popular Culture in Britain at the Beginning of the 1960's The 1950's were a conservative period. The country was recovering from the ravishes of war and many people wanted society to return to how it was in the 1930's. America was leading the way forwards however much the older generation disliked it. New music was appearing such as Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard. More consumer goods could be afforded by the middle classes creating a better standard of living. Televisions began to be purchased widely as did refrigerators and washing machines. The standard of living of the average person living in Britain rose during the 1950's. The popular catchphrase used in the 1959 election by Harold Macmillan was 'you've never had it so good' which in my view sums up the 1950's; and by 1960 change was imminent. The culture of the 1960's reflects Britain at this time. Attitudes of many people in Britain were still very conservative entering the 1960's. However, things had begun to change for many groups in society. Women were still second class citizens but a large proportion of them had begun to work. ...read more.


Some were still very traditional like Butlins, bed and breakfasts and other holiday camps. However with people owning cars they experienced a new found freedom. Places such as the Costa del Sol became popular with British holiday makers. Package holidays grew in popularity as did camping and caravanning holidays. The new found freedoms experience with the new transport was shown in various ways throughout culture in the 1960's. As in any period of time the media always shows how the culture was changing. Until the early 1960's the British television was dominated by the upper classes. There were only two channels, BBC and ITV with BBC 2 starting in 1965. However the television industry underwent a period of change in the early 1960's Programmes began to get shown with people from middle and working classes on. Coronation Street was first broadcast in 1960 and others soon followed. The television started to reflect the society around it and soon became the most popular activity. Dramas began to be shown like 'Cathy Come Home' which were watched throughout Britain and had great impacts on society. Campaigning programmes also began to be broadcast for example Tonight and other news based programmes. ...read more.


Adults however were still listening to Frank Sinatra and the Joe Loss Orchestra. They couldn't understand the new music with their sexual lyrics and movements. In 1962 the Beatles released their first record. They were still relatively unknown playing in places like the 'Cavern' and Hamburg. New fashions were starting to become the new way to be revolutionary. Teddy Boys began to make a statement in society as did the Rockers. Many teenagers and young people in the early 1960's though, still wore their parents fashions. Boys wore short trousers and shirts whilst girls wore skirts. Fashion as everything else in the late 1950's to early 60's was still very conservative. Popular culture in the early 1960's was still much the same as it had been throughout the 50's. Although a teenage market had emerged, little had really changed by 1962. The British culture was still very conservative. However things were soon to change. The 1960's were dramatically different to the ways the older generation had grown up. America looked to Britain as the culture capital of the world. New pop groups emerged and life became 'swinging' for many young people. The older generation still did not approve but were powerless to do anything. The early 1960's can be described best as 'a grey period' and not as the 'swinging sixties' which came later. ...read more.

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