Remembering Queen Elizabeth II - 1960’s

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The rapidly-changing social climate of the 1950s opened the floodgates for the 1960s - the second decade of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. 

Let’s take a walk down memory lane and explore just some of the key moments from the decade that gave us the moon landing, lava lamps, and bubble wrap.



Conscription Ends

Mandatory army service came to an end in 1960 and the youth of the day became the first generation since the Edwardians not to be expected to fight. 

The surviving members of both World Wars wanted the next generations to enjoy life without the horrors of battle, and teenagers were given free reign on their destinies. 

Ten Years On The Throne

Though there were no large-scale Jubilee celebrations, 1962 marked 10 years of Elizabeth II’s reign. The Queen was only 35 years old at the time, and would reign across a decade with unprecedented social change. 

Remembering Queen Elizabeth II - 1950’s

Remembering Queen Elizabeth II - 1950’s

Beatlemania Grips Britain

It wouldn’t be too unfair to say that Britain’s pre-Beatles music scene was rather dull and forgettable. With the nation mosty listening to ballads and watered-down rock numbers, audiences were crying out for music they could actually be inspired by. 

The Beatles, fresh from a residency in Hamburg, proved to be the remedy the youth needed. The four-piece band started life as The Quarrymen and released the track Please Please Me on 11 January 1963. An album of the same name was unveiled on 22 March to unparalleled success as The Beatles announced themselves to the world.

The group would dominate the charts for the rest of the decade and would break up in 1970 as the most successful musical act in history. 

Doctor Who Debuts, Kennedy Assassinated Day Before

Doctor Who has become one of the nation’s most iconic TV shows, but its pilot episode suffered the misfortune of airing less than 24 hours after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

News of the assasination quickly reached the United Kingdom via television and radio coverage, and marked the first time that a US President was assassinated in the TV age. 

The Kennedy family’s international appeal resulted in a number of Britons mourning the loss, yet it would be the first of four major political assassinations in the USA during the 1960s. 

Remembering Queen Elizabeth II - 1980’S

Remembering Queen Elizabeth II - 1980’S

Swinging London, World Cup Win

London at the start of the 1960s was a conservative, gray city still dusting itself off from the War. The idea that London would soon become the cultural capital of the world would have most likely been considered nonsense at the time, but it did.

The capital’s fashion, music, and art scene attracted people from all over the world and places like Carnaby Street became iconic 60s locations. England’s golden age was perhaps best cemented on 30 July 1966 when the national team lifted the Jules Rimet trophy after the World Cup Final.

Celtic and Manchester United would see European success in the next two years as Great Britain’s influence on football continued to grow. 

Welcome King Charles III

Welcome King Charles III

Counterculture Grows As Decade Fades Out

The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Pink Floyd became icons of the growing counterculture movement in Britain, one built upon challenging widely-held societal beliefs and use of recreational drugs. 

The ‘hippie’ movement generated momentum on both sides of the Atlantic and was perhaps best encapsulated by the Woodstock and Isle of Wight Music Festivals, both of which debuted in 1969. 

Rupert Murdoch would purchase The Sun newspaper, the death penalty was abolished in Britain, and regular colour TV broadcasts began on BBC at the tail end of the 1960s.

After all was said and done, the decade left a long and lasting legacy that people are still talking about today. Though people often say ‘’if you remember the 60s, you weren’t really there’’, the truth is that particular 10-year span forever altered the course of history. 

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