As hairlines became longer and hemlines shorter, the 60s was a decade of enormous change. Whilst the 1950s could be described as more monochrome, the 60s was anything but. People lived their lives out in technicolour and the “swinging 60s” still remains the defining decade for Britain.
We shrugged off the shackles of the 40s and 50s and entered a world where anything was possible, it was, using the words of Neil Armstrong, “a great leap for mankind.”
## Swinging Sixties
In music we saw the birth of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys. There were several defining social movements from Civil Rights and Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”, the anti-war demonstrators battling the Vietnam war, to feminism and the rise of ‘Flower Power’ and psychedelia.
Technology change was enormous. Concorde took to the skies, we had the first moon landing and Boeing launched the Jumbo Jet revolutionising aviation.
The 1960s was the decade of the Cuban missile crisis where the Soviet Union and the USA so nearly came to blows. Just over a year later John F. Kennedy the president of the day was assassinated. As was Martin Luther King in 1968.
We also lost one of Britain’s greatest and best loved leaders in Winston Churchill, who died in 1965.
Most young people would end the decade owning a radio and as a result the 1960s saw the popular rise of pirate radio such as Radio Luxembourg.
The decade started bleakly, but as a result of rapid social, cultural and technological change, it ended more liberal, optimistic and with a keen sense of adventure. Perhaps this is best encapsulated by the words of Charlie Fleischer who said, “If you remember the ’60s, you really weren’t there.”
Were you there? We would love to hear your memories of the time and will feature some of them in later editions of our look back at the 1960s. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.