Teddy Boys & Girls

  • Theme - Leisure
  • Year - 1972
  • Location - Southend-on-sea
  • Filmmaker - Unknown


Taken from ‘My Generation’, a Digital Heritage archive documentary, produced early in 2012 by Norwich HEART, this film footage was originally shot by Anglia Television in 1972, in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

As narrator, Arthur Smith explains, it documents the Teddy Boy revival that took place in the town during the 1970’s, twenty years after the first wave of ‘Teds’ had their day. The Long Bar, in Southend was packed out each week on Friday and Saturday nights, by girls and boys who had come out to dance and socialise. A local news film crew was sent to Essex to talk to the bar’s owner, Ma and her customers to find out what attracted youngsters to the Teddy Boy culture nearly 20 years after it had first emerged.

Dressed in full ‘Ted’ outfits – drape jackets, brothel creeper shoes and quiffs for the boys, and mini-skirts and dark eyeliner for the girls – these revivalists felt that they had found a new means of expression for themselves. As one young man who is interviewed in the film said, “We don’t care what anyone else might think. We get abuse on the street but all the same, we’re different.”
The original Teddy boys of the 50s were the first youth group to seriously challenge the older generation and epitomise the concept of the teenager. The Teddy boy or ‘Teds’ subculture started in London in the 1950s, and rapidly spread across the UK. The name ‘Teddy Boy’ was an adaptation of the Edwardian style of dress they adopted and was first coined when a 1953 Daily Express newspaper headline shortened Edwardian to Teddy. The US film Blackboard Jungle marked a watershed in the United Kingdom. When shown in Elephant and Castle, south London in 1956, the teenage Teddy boy audience began to riot, tearing up seats and dancing in the cinema's aisles.

Some Teds formed gangs and gained notoriety following violent clashes with rival gangs which were often exaggerated by the popular press.

EAFA CAT NO: 149214

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  • The " young man " referred to in the commentary was me. For myself I needed to belong to this way of life as I lost my father a few years earlier..I could, and should have gone on to better myself academically, but as the saying goes...

    ROCK AND ROLL YOU GAVE ME THE BEST YEARS OF MY LIFE....By: nick vince - 1565 days ago
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