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white Female
Age in 1960: -1
Born in: Palo Alto CA
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Sounds of the Sixties

There was the music of course.  

But in addition, these are some of the sounds people associate with the 1960’s in London.

What sounds do you remember?


The sound of cars backfiring. Our dog was always terrified when she heard it and rushed home, her tail between her legs.

The tap tap of typewriter keys and the whirr of the carriage return after each line.

The clunkety clunk of a copying machine which used a stencil sheet where the letters were punched holes which let the ink through sheet after sheet.


Clink of milk bottles being delivered on your door step

“Mind the gap” announcements in the Underground

Calls of the rag and bone men

Clippity clop of the dray horses


The bells and ticket machines on the buses and the tinkling sounds of coins in the conductors’s pouch.v0_master

Factory horns announcing starting and closing times

Newspaper vendors yelling “Staaandard, get your Evening Standard here”

Air raid sirens once a week

“Clunk and clink of the record changer on the Dansette record player.maxresdefault

Children playing in the street and the occasional yell of “car!”



“Car horns that played a little ditty.”

Picking up the phone and hearing another conversation on the trunk line

The “whoosh” of the metal container used in department stores to move money from the sales desk to the accounts department on another floor

‘Penny for the Guy’ leading up to the 5th November Bonfire nights

Your recollections of London in the 60’s

What do you remember about London in the 60’s

Memories of a young bank clerk in 1966

“In 1966, I was working at Midland’s branch in Brixton —so old fashioned that it conjures up images of the office of Ebenezer Scrooge. It still had large sloping desks in the back office at which you had to stand to hand post the deposit ledgers, a task that was done on a ‘real time’ basis. Caribbean immigrants settling in South London opened “new deposit” (non-checking) accounts and they were wont to deposit and withdraw cash into and out of these two of three times a day! One of these customer’s first name was Winston St Leger. His parents were proud of Churchill’s achievements during WW2 and also enjoyed horse racing. The St Leger inaugurated in 1776 is still one of the premier flat races in the English flat racing calendar! Sadly during my two year sojourn in Brixton, I was not aware of the emergence of a talented young singer, David Bowie, who was born here and performed regularly at the Brixton Ritz. My musical interests at that time revolved principally around modern jazz. I remember catching the Dave Brubeck Quartet at the Fairfield Halls, I have to admit that I was largely oblivious to the ‘swinging Sixties’ in London. I’m not sure I can recall ever walking down Carnaby Street then either!”

John Hopkins “Hoppy” (1937-2015) on the publication of the underground newspaper International Times in 1966

“Once we had our own media it began to feel like a movement.”  John “Hoppy” Hopkins was one of the best-known counterculture figures of London in the 1960s He was a photographer, journalist, and political activist. He was the co-founder of at least three underground projects: International Times newspaper, the UFO Club,and the London Free School. “During the couple of years up to June 1967, when Hoppy was jailed for cannabis possession, Britain’s fertile and diverse counterculture took much of its inspiration from him, and he was the closest thing the movement ever had to a leader.” The Guardian, February 15, 2015

Actress Anjelica Huston remembers

from Calling London: A Counterculture History of London since 1945 by Barry Miles

“. . .playing a good deal of hooky in the basement of a fish and chip shop in Powis Terrace called the London Free School. We used to spend many a happy afternoon with a bunch of bright hippies doing what I care not to remember. . .To come into one’s age in London. . .I remember hearing Bob Dylan for the first time and Otis Redding for the first time and going to see Ike and Tina Turner at the Revolution. Not to mention the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Roundhouse, Eel Pie Island, It was something that was unprecedented and I think it threw everyone into a state but it was awfully good fun if you were on the cusp to it.”

Recollections of a former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

Alan Johnson, former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, worked in a Tesco warehouse for 8 Pounds a week starting in January 1966. In his autobiography This Boy, he writes “By day we were unassuming supermarket workers, but every moment of our spare time was devoted to the pursuit of our dream to become pop stars. We longed to form a proper band.”

Read what others have said about “Swinging London”

From the London School of Economics website: PDF] Jerry White: Social and Cultural Change in 1960s London ‘The 

“Swinging London” — where did the term come from?  What’s been said about it?

In 1965, Diana Vreeland, editor of Vogue magazine said, “London is the most swinging city in the world at the moment.” Writer Piri Halasz coined the phrase “Swinging London” in her April 15, 1966 article in Time magazine; and since then several other authors have used the same term in writing about London in the early part of the 1960’s.

“It was great for two thousand people living in London, a very elitist thing, a naive kind of attitude before the accountants took over,” David Bailey Goodbye Baby & Amen (more…)

A visit to Lola in full regalia

Lola was the hard-working Spanish au pair girl employed in the boarding house run by Agnes and her husband, where I helped out now and then. Funnily enough, when the bug (the flu) struck it seemed to immediately knock the Irish boys flat out. It only took from Friday to Monday to fill eight beds. Then Lola made the ninth.

The Nigerian students (Dan, Don, and Andy), though, were luckier. They remained immune, Never had we had so exotic an addition to the street. Neighbors gaped when the Nigerians first arrived in their beautiful flowing gowns; they had to contend not only with curious neighbors but also inquisitive, uninhibited children, who felt it necessary to accompany them wherever they went. Continue reading