Cultural history: Britain at the start of the sixties

In the past few years, I’ve been writing about the cultural history of Britain in the late 1950s and early 1960s – a transitional and ambivalent period, when change was just emerging over the horizon. Some of this focuses on childhood and youth, but some of it doesn’t. There may be more to come… Here are some samples:

At the Crossroads: Alexis Korner and the British Rhythm and Blues Boom. Why and how did rhythm and blues music take off so dramatically in Britain at the start of the 1960s? And what does this tell us about ‘race’ and culture? Click here.

The end of obscenity? Revisiting the trial of Lady Chatterley. What were the bigger issues about culture, class and sexuality at stake in the trial of D.H. Lawrence’s novel in 1960? And how does the novel itself represent sex and gender relations? Click here.

A suburban scene. In the late 1950s and 1960s, the south-west London suburbs of Richmond and Twickenham were a hotbed for innovation in popular music. What can this history tell us about youth culture more broadly? Click here.

Before London started swinging: representing the British beatniks. Youth culture, literature and the birth of cultural studies in 1959. Click here.

Dreamboats, boybands and the perils of showbiz. Pop in film, 1956-68. From Elvis and Cliff, through the Beatles and the Dave Clark 5, to the Monkees in ‘Head’. Click here.

Hayley Mills and the Disneyfication of childhood. The film career of one of Britain’s best-loved child stars, and what it tells us about changing views of childhood on the cusp of the 1960s. Click here.