What was your experience? What do remember about 1964 in London?

 

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Photo by Learningfromdogs.com

Photo by Learningfromdogs.com

The October 1964 election returned Labour to power under Harold Wilson. Photo from National Archives, UK

The October 1964 election returned Labour to power under Harold Wilson. Photo from National Archives, UK

1964

50 years ago so much was happening and changing in London

The first election for the 32 London boroughs took place on May 7, 1964.  The Greater London Council had been created by the London Government Act of 1963. All seats were up for election. The result was a landslide for the Labour Party, who won twenty of the boroughs. The Conservatives won nine, and three were under no overall control.

Pirate Radio Caroline broadcast its first program on March 28, 1964.   “On Easter Sunday 1964 the most famous of all the offshore Pirates, Radio Caroline, played its first record: “Not Fade Away” by the Rolling Stones. Aimed principally at London and the South East to begin with, the mother of all the pirate ships had set anchor off the Essex coast and so began the story which, in three short years, was to change pop music and radio broadcasting in the UK forever.” They Didn’t Fade Away: Pirate Radio  from the BBC website programs for April 21, 2014

Also on Easter Sunday of 1964, one of the London Aldermaston marches was heldThe Aldermaston Marches took place between the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire, England, and London, over a distance of about 83 kilometers. These anti-nuclear weapons demonstrations were organized by the the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War with support from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the 1950’s.. By the early 60’s, they attracted tens of thousands of people.

The Beatles’ first film A Hard Day’s Night premiered in July 1964.    Beatlemania was in full force after the Beatles world tour to 50 cities on four continents. In 1964, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” and “I Feel Fine” made it to Number 1 in the UK.

Granada Television broadcast the first in what became a series of documentary interviews, Seven Up!.   BBC-TV inaugurated BBC2.    Originally scheduled to premier on April 20, 1964, BBC2 ‘s first transmission was cancelled due to a power outage at Battersea Power Station. By 11:00 on 21 April, power had been restored to the studios and programming began, thus making Play School the first program to be shown officially on the channel. The launch schedule, postponed from the night before, was then successfully shown that evening, albeit with minor changes. In reference to the power cut, the transmission opened with a shot of a lit candle which was then sarcastically blown out by presenter Denis Tuohy.

The Ad Lib Club opened in February 1964 on Leicester Place, off Leicester Square.  The Ad Lib is considered one of the first clubs to cater to young rock and rollers instead of an older more traditional crowd. “John Lennon was the first Beatle to go there; then came Ringo, and within seven weeks it was the in place to be.” Barry Miles, London Calling: A Counterculture History of London since 1945.

The first Brook Centre opened in London. Established by a charity founded by Helen Brook, these family planning centers were the first to be available to unwed and married women.

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