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.”

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