Sixties City
Sixties Memories
Sixties Memories - Sixties City

A miscellany of memories containing some of the information and stories provided in e-mails from site visitors. Some of the text appears in main articles but a lot of it, although fascinating, is difficult to place on specific pages, therefore I present it here for your interest rather than let it languish in the mailbox! I'm sure some of these will jog interesting memories of your own. Do you have any interesting or unique memories, information, pictures or anecdotes from the Sixties that you would like to share? If you do, contact me at Sixties City - I'd be delighted to hear from you!     Also see the light-hearted Sixties Childhood Memories page.
Updated 6th January 2024

Any 'Sixties' memories or anecdotes are welcome here, on anything you like, but I'll kick you off with children's playground equipment. Our local recreation ground (The 'Rec') had 4 types of equipment available: The Top Hat, The Rocking Horse, The Roundabout and The Swings. All built into concrete foundations. Soft play area? Health and safety? Hah, we used to laugh in the face of danger! The only soft landing you were going to get is if you managed to jump far enough to reach the muddy grass outside the concrete area. Or, on the couple of times a year when the council cut the grass, huge stacks of grass piled around the various constructions (when not used to make 'camps') to be jumped into (regardless of any dog poo which, in those days, seemed to be ubiquitous!

The council had to pay regular visits to repair our misuse. The Top Hat was regularly dislodged from the top of the centre pole, the Rocking Horse handles used to jam in the top frame and the swings, on metal chains, used to be swung over and over the top bar. The only bit of kit in constant use was the Roundabout but there were so many names carved into the wood that splinters were a common result of exuberant activity. We also used to climb onto the roof of adjacent garages to jump off into the piled grass. Bows and arrows were seasonal, from the nearby willow tree plantings. Arrows were made with metal tips hammered into shape from odd bits and pieces and fitted into slots in the end - but amazingly, nobody ever lost an eye or suffered from being hit by them! There were also go-karts made with old pram wheels! (see top right).

More from me later.... and from yourselves we have:

Childhood Memories - Heather

I remember bottles of milk heated by the fire in the classroom, playing French skipping, two ball, & Jacks at play times. Otherwise school, Brownies, Guides & violin lessons. We didn't have many mod cons, just a geyser for hot water so had to wash hair at the sink and heat water to fill the bath (which was downstairs off the kitchen). We played with dolls and had big prams for them. Also we had tricycles. Loved our Lego although it was just basic bricks to make houses etc. There was no day time TV except for Christmas day so it was a big treat to watch children in hospital getting special gifts and visits on Christmas morning.

We played in the garden with other children in the close - one family had an air raid shelter in the garden which made a great den! We spent weekends at Dad's allotment or going to the beach at Studland - with a stop halfway in at Stoneycross of course. The car I remember was a Ford Anglia. We didn't have a phone in the house until I started work so it was a trip down the road to the phonebox if we needed to call anyone (which rarely happened). I went to senior school in Eastleigh. At first this was by train but the passenger service stopped in the late sixties so then we had a coach. My social life was Brownies then Guides. 5 of us went youth hostelling when we were 14 - I can't imagine that happening now!."

Childhood Memories - Pauline
Early 60s I remember the simple games we used to play outside in the street (safer as fewer cars). Hopscotch, Jacks, Marbles, 2 Ball, Skipping & Hula Hoop.

Childhood and School Memories - Joy
I was a tomboy really. I had a big brother, six years older than me, so I followed him and learned from him. My dad was very practical and my mum had been in the Land Army working with heavy horses and logs - so in our home everybody mucked in especially if there was heavy work to be done! I didn't realise until much later that other mums wore make-up and heels every day, whereas my mum only wore heels on very special occasions and I hated her 'going out' look ;) She had a pair of black quilted patent stilettos, in which she towered over my dad. She also had a pair of beautiful red wedges, which had formed part of her 'going away outfit' (in 1950) which I lusted after in the early 1970s, but I was only ever allowed to look at them, even though by that stage my feet had grown to the same size as her wedges. I don't blame her, I'd have worn them to teenage parties and some harm might have come to them. I was blessed/cursed with unruly curly hair, which I finally managed to get cut short at about the age of eight. Until then I'd suffered quite painful hair brushing, usually standing outside by the coal bunker because so much hair was ripped out in the process. One of my grandmothers back-combed it once! That was all the trend in the 1960s but surely only for adults with thinner hair. My mum was furious and maybe that helped me to convince her that a shorter cut would be just the thing.

So, with my new short hair and a pair of jeans and a check shirt, I became a mini version of my big brother. It wasn't until I got to senior school in 1968 that the horror of gender divisions was heaped upon me. I passed the 11 plus, so went to a Grammar School. I was the only girl from my junior school to get in, along with three boys. But at the age of eleven, I didn't really talk to boys so much - they had stopped being friends but it was too early to be thinking of them as boyfriends. Girls went in one door and boys in another. This was where we hung our coats, so it was a proper cloakroom, but no toilets or anything so no need for the boy/girl divide. But it got worse as ONLY boys could do metalwork and woodwork, whilst ONLY girls could do 'Domestic Science'. In assemblies and in all of the academic subjects, classes were mixed, but one afternoon each week we divided and went along those single-sex entrances, through our single-sex cloakrooms and, for the girls, the Domestic Science room was at the end.

In Domestic Science we not only learned to cook, but also how to wash up, how to lay a table and my favourite, how to feed an invalid! (It was rubbish, their idea of perfect food for invalids. In our family if you were off school poorly, Grandma would come round with ice-cream. We didn't have a freezer so we had to eat it as soon as she arrived. It was usually a tub of Walls Neapolitan, so everybody else got some after the poorly person had their share.) The boys would wait for us when we got out of Domestic Science to see if we had cooked anything nice they could scrounge, so if we'd made individual cakes we were very popular. They could never share any of their woodwork or metalwork things, of course, so it was very one-sided. Despite it being a Grammar School, there was still a terrible divide with regard to careers advice. We were all taking the same academic subjects and I know I wasn't a model pupil, but I also know I wasn't the only girl to be pushed towards those old staples of secretary and dental nurse. Presumably such work would tide me over until I got married and could apply all those skills I'd learned in Domestic Science! I've done alright since and stumbled upon a career that suited me, but I'd have loved to have been an engineer. It's possible my maths would have let me down, but a decent careers advisor would have at least told me that if I wanted to be an engineer I would have to pull up my (fawn coloured) socks and get to grips with maths.

Mentioning the fawn socks has also reminded me about the uniform. Of course girls were only allowed to wear skirts, pleated in the lower school but straight in the final two years. The Deputy Headmistress had a wooden ruler which she would use if she thought a skirt was more than two inches above the knee. As we piled out the gate at the end of the day the tie would be removed and the skirt waistband rolled up. That was never a good look with the pleated skirts, but better once you progressed to the straight skirts - at which stage you could also move to tights rather than the fawn socks. The tights could only be leg-coloured, so at that stage it was probably the awful 'American Tan'. How lucky we are to live now in a world where tights come in pretty much any shade, thickness and design you could wish for. Then the shops only sold black or American Tan and they laddered so badly, which would also upset the Deputy Headmistress. One of her jokes was, and looking back I can see this was quite saucy, "are you hoping a fireman is coming to climb that ladder?"

Childhood Memories in Wales - Margaret
My parents moved into a house on a newly built housing estate in 1956, when I was 7 months old and my brother was 2. I lived there through all my primary and secondary school years, before I left to go to college in 1974. As many couples had moved to the housing estate as newly weds, or with young families, there were always plenty of children to play with. I used to play hopscotch or jackstones on the pavement outside our house, or roam further afield on my roller skates or scooter. I was very excited when I had a pogo stick for possibly my 10th birthday, although I suffered lots of bruising around my knees until I got the knack of staying on it. I also spent many hours outside in our porch, pounding away with two balls, probably to the annoyance of my parents sitting inside, while singing the various songs which accompanied the games. When a few friends were around, I also used to like playing French skipping with a large loop of elastic stretched around the ankles of two people standing about 2m apart. Another favourite was my yellow hula hoop, skills I have put to good use more recently with a weighted hula hoop. My brother and I used to enjoy playing together on a large tricycle, but once he had a full size bike, he used to go off for whole day cycle trips with friends. I later had my own bike, but never made that much use of it, as none of my friends enjoyed cycling.

When we were growing up, there were fields either side of our estate, which have now been built on. One was called the 'Grasshopper Field' as it was alive with the sound of grasshoppers in the summer. It had very long grass and a variety of wild flowers. In the other direction was the Private Field, actually the grounds surrounding a large house. My brother and his friends used to make a rope swing on one of the trees and I was often left to keep watch, in case the lady in the lodge at the bottom of the drive came out to chase them away. Up the hill from our home was Lawrence Hill, a large area of woodland, bracken and in the autumn, bramble bushes which used to be laden with blackberries. I had a special little basket which was always used for blackberrying. My brother used to disappear for most of the day in the summer, making dens, climbing trees and scrambling round the hillside. During the summer holidays, the men used to come to resurface the road and one of our favourite pastimes was sitting on the kerb with a lolly stick, making patterns in the excess tar which oozed out into the gutter. It wasn't so much fun however if we got tar on our clothes!

It was always very exciting when we heard the tunes of the Tonibell or Mr. Whippy ice cream vans visiting our road and we queued up excitedly for a cone, or if it was a special occasion, we might be treated to a 99. I didn't have the opportunity to attend a nursery school, so began primary school after the Easter holidays, as I would have my 5th birthday in the following term. It was only as I grew up, and possibly when arrangements were made for all pupils turning 5 in the next school year to start school in September, that I realised I must only have spent one term in Reception class. My abiding memories of that class are the Wendy house, never used for anything other than a practice for homelife, playing with clay which was kept in a big metal bin and the Happy Venture reading scheme involving Dick and Dora, Nip the dog and Fluff the cat. No school uniform was worn at this time, but in August there would be a visit every couple of years to Marks and Spencer for a gaberdine mac which I would grow into. The oversized navy coat never looked quite right when tried out on a summer's day with sandals and ankle socks. I was a very picky eater as a child and dreaded school dinners, but packed lunches were only allowed in special circumstances, so I stayed to dinners every day and used to gaze enviously at my brother on a Friday as he tucked into his sandwiches as he supposedly couldn't eat fish. There was a tuck shop at morning break and when I was in the top class, I took a turn in selling such delights as Potato Puffs, Wagon Wheels and Jammie Dodgers.

Just before the Autumn Half Term holiday in my final year at primary school, we heard the dreadful news of the Aberfan disaster. When we returned after Half Term, we wrote letters to the surviving children at Pantglas Primary School. Some of the children joined us at our Christmas party and we were warned not to mention anything about the disaster to the children. By the time I was 11 the comprehensive system was being introduced in Wales, so while we had spent many months practising for the Eleven Plus exam, we were the first year not to sit it. With the coming of the comprehensive system, a new school was to be built, but it wasn't ready for the first two years. Therefore the girls and boys were separated and sent to the former secondary modern schools. Pity the poor teachers when we were brought back together with hormones raging for our 3rd year at high school.

Foods from around the world became more widely available and so my Mum began to introduce meals from other countries. Although ready meals such as Vesta beef curry and chicken chow mein were available, my Mum still stuck to cooking these new meals from scratch. One of the first foreign meals we tasted was spaghetti bolognaise, courtesy of a recipe from one of my brother's friends, with an apology to my Dad and the promise of chops with potatoes and vegetables the next night. My mother didn't drive and rather than carry heavy shopping home on the bus, our groceries were delivered once a week by Mr. Watts, who owned his own food store. Fruit and vegetables were bought from the van which came along the road once a week. There was also the Popman selling fizzy drinks, but we had to make do with squash! Supermarkets were gradually being introduced, but I can remember some stores where the butter and cheese would be cut up, weighed and placed in greaseproof paper and biscuits were weighed out and placed in a brown paper bag. All the goods would be served from behind a long wooden polished counter. There were no barcodes and those serving in the shops needed very good mental arithmetic skills before every shop had a cash register.

Hand knitted jumpers and cardigans were very much a feature of my younger life, courtesy of my mother and grandmother, but manmade fibres such as crimplene, courtelle and polyester were becoming more widely used and therefore crimplene slacks with courtelle jumpers began to appear in my wardrobe. It was a great time for music with The Beatles being a great favourite. I can well remember the excitement of my grandmother taking us to the local Odeon to see A Hard Day's Night. My brother meanwhile was a bit more daring in his choice with the sound of the Rolling Stones drifting from the front room. He also liked instrumental recordings by The Shadows such as Foot Tapper, Wonderful Land and Apache. I used to enjoy the energetic antics of Freddie and The Dreamers and was a great fan of Paul Jones, the lead singer of Manfred Mann. Recently my brother came across our collection of 45 rpm records, with each record sleeve carefully labelled with our names. Clearly we felt very proud and protective about our collections.

While I was growing up, I went to Brownies and Guides, with my brother attending Cubs and Scouts. He played football for the school on a Saturday morning, while I had Irish dancing lessons and we both had swimming lessons. There were occasional visits to the cinema, with the added treat of a tub of ice cream or maybe a choc-ice and at Christmas my grandmother treated us to a trip to the pantomime. At home, we had a large black and white television which seemed to break down frequently and of course only two channels, later extending to three when BBC 2 started. There was a large bakelite radio in the dining room, which had all sorts of strange sounding stations and a portable transistor radio, on which my brother would tune in to Radio Luxemburg or Radio Caroline to hear some of the latest groups. We were each allowed a weekly comic with my brother favouring the Beano while I read Bunty, later moving on to the Jackie magazine. We would also receive one of the annuals at Christmas.

My father was a plant fitter, working on all sorts of vehicles and machines on building sites and civil engineering projects, so he was interested in all things mechanical. When my parents married, he became the proud owner of an Austin 7, but throughout our childhood and teenage years, he owned a black Morris Minor. Mrs Morris took us everywhere and my brother and I both learnt to drive in that car. It was always exciting the night before our summer holidays, when the roof rack was attached and our suitcases placed on top, all protected by a sheet of canvas. A little Calor gas picnic stove was also a feature of the summer holidays, with my parents brewing up in many lay-bys and on lots of beaches. During the summer holidays, our big treat was to visit Bristol Zoo, travelling by steam train. There was always a rush to close the windows as we approached the Severn Tunnel to stop the smuts entering the carriage. Another summer adventure was to catch two buses to reach a large park which had a much higher slide than the one in our local park and we always had a lovely picnic while there. During my childhood, buses were operated by a driver and conductor, with smoking being allowed upstairs, creating a thick grey fog up there.

It's amazing what has come to mind while thinking about this topic. They were happy times, mainly making our own entertainment, with no thought of computers or mobile phones. So many things we take for granted now such as central heating, washing machines, fridges and freezers, dishwashers, colour televisions and music centres were gradually being introduced, changing the way we lived our lives, but somehow we came through without them.

Childhood Memories - Pat
I was about 8 in 1960, and remember going into Blaise Castle woods with lots of children (boys and girls) from our neighbourhood to play rounders, my parents didn't worry about us at all. I also rode on my bike to Severn Beach from our house which must have been 10 miles to go swimming. I was with my sister and her friend, we didn't get home until 5-6 O'Clock, you certainly wouldn't let kids go out today on roads or go off into the woods. When I was about 16/17 I remember making many of my summer dresses, they were all very short, mini dresses, and I had a favourite leather skirt also very mini. It seemed the only time I went shopping was at Christmas when we had money to spend, even when I started work around 1969/1970 I still made my own clothes. The Beatles and The Beach Boys were my favourite groups and I bought the Jackie magazine to read up all about the latest pop news.

Childhood Memories - Julie
Being allowed to go to the fair on the other side of the village with a friend, even in the dark, things were happening then but you still felt a greater sense of independence. Skipping, French skipping, 2 ball (having a tennis ball in the foot of one of mum's old stockings & banging it from side to side against a wall, saying specific rhymes) Going to Sunday School in best clothes then only being allowed out to play until dinner time (eaten at 12.30pm), after that we stayed indoors or played in the garden so as not to annoy the neighbours A game we used to play- 'Queenie Queenie, who's got the ball, is she fat or is she tall or is she like a rolling pin?' (throw the ball behind you, someone would pick it up from group, person then turned round & had to guess who had it)

Buying my first mini skirt when I was about 11/12-a pink one with mock zip pockets in the front, my mum was away at the time, I remember being scared about what my dad would say but he was fine Going to the cinema in Leicester on the bus with a friend & her older sister to see "Help!", also used to go into Leicester with a friend & have ice cream sodas at Brucciani's (Ice cream parlour I believe) Cutting out the doll & clothes on the back of each week's Bunty for dressing up, keeping them all in a tin, also buying books with cut out dolls & clothes in (someone else's copy of Jackie was read at school in break time Learning to read with Dick & Dora books Learning to ride a 2 wheeler when about 7/8, my dad running up the road with me (When slightly older I used to cycle for miles).

Having a swing in our garden, falling off it & mum's normal treatment of "rub some butter in to bring out the bruise" Experimenting with a bit of make up in the late 60s Having a Sindy doll with a wardrobe for her clothes Having my first transistor radio for Christmas when I was 12 Liking the Mersey Sound-always wanted to see the Swinging Blue Jeans (finally got to at a 60s show a number of years ago) Cutting out newspaper articles about the Beatles & other groups, sticking them in my scrap book Watching the televised funeral of Sir Winston Churchill Watching 'Watch With Mother'-Rag, Tag & Bobtail was my favourite Seeing the televised pictures coming from Aberfan & hearing my dad talking about it with our next door neighbour Looking for my Christmas presents one year as I'd been told there was no Father Christmas & finding one hidden away-I was still very disappointed when my parents confirmed he didn't exist Hopscotch on the pavement outside of our house Buying Walkers cheese flavour crisps from the local off licence.

Buying Potato Puffs from the secondary school tuckshop Holding skeins of wool for my mum whilst she wound them into balls Learning to darn socks Going to the park on the other side of the village, going down the big slide Spending a year at a junior school annexe on the other side of the village-having to queue up in pairs to go to the Social Centre for lunch- being made a monitor there Bottles of milk, frozen in the winter & warmed up to defrost them (Yuk!) One junior teacher paying for her class to have a similar size bottle of orange in the afternoons Country dancing in the 3rd year juniors (Dashing White Sergeant, Gay Gordons come immediately to mind) Girl Guides in the later 60s (I was never a Brownie)-badges were generally more domestic then.

Childhood Memories - Geoff
My sister had Beatles wallpaper in her bedroom. The water in the outside toilet was freezing!

Recollections of Sixties Employment - Dermot Elworthy
It was in the summer of 1960 that I was temporarily employed by Remington Typewriters in their Hammersmith service department. My job was to deliver bits and pieces to offices around the West End and the City on the company’s 175 Lambretta. I quite enjoyed this, particularly chatting up the many secretaries and typists to be found in the offices of those days and I enjoyed a modicum of success in that sphere. However, with winter approaching, I sought more congenial employment and landed a job in the men’s shoe department of Barkers in Kensington High Street. The floor walker to whom I was assigned was indistinguishable from “Captain Peacock” (the TV character created more than a decade later) and he made no effort to conceal his dislike of me. Like so many who had not enjoyed a particularly “good war”, he insisted that he be accorded the military honorific. This rather irked me as in those days, it was the convention that only officers of field rank could maintain their former status in civilian life. Anyway, the “Captain” was off the floor when I served someone who seemed a typical London wide boy with unusually large feet. I recall that he bought a pair of black Gibsons and a pair of suede desert boots. Peacock returned just as this chap was leaving. “Do you know who that person was?” “No - should I have done?” “That was only Max Bygraves and you should have let me attend to him”.

I did not possess a telly and listened only to the Third Programme, so completely failed to recognise the evidently famous personage. This provided him the opportunity to get rid of me and I was transferred to the women’s shoe department of Derry and Toms a bit further along the High Street. They had flamingos on the roof garden which often provided conversation more stimulating than that of the punters downstairs. Tired of jamming bunions into low-heeled courts and avoiding the predatory interests of some of the old biddies, I then transferred to Pontings nearer the Earl's Court Road, the third and down-market department store of the Barker group. For a few months I toiled in the Manchester department flogging lengths of damask and uncut moquette. After sabotaging the overhead mechanical receipt/change providing system, I left this mausoleum and went into the motor trade. Barker’s, D&T and Pontings as well as Remington’s place in Hammersmith are now long dead. But thanks to this interesting site, memories can be preserved and shared.

Recollections of Soho - Dermot Elworthy
Back in 1959, I worked for a large advertising agency in Fetter Lane, EC4, to where I commuted on a Lambretta. I was an organist, occasionally playing for services in City churches and it was the organists’ affinity with JS Bach that led me to spending the occasional lunch hour in the wartime ruins of St Anne’s in Wardour Street. An 18th century organist there had been a friend of the composer and it was for him that the great St Anne fugue was written. Given that Bach’s history lay in the then East Germany, Wardour Street was as close as I was likely to get to my musical hero! A girlfriend was the personal assistant to the delightfully urbane James Shand who ran the Shenval Press from 58 Frith Street; a firm highly respected in the world of print and the graphic arts. I still remember the phone number – GERrard 3912!

Ruari McLean edited Motif (an imprint of the Shenval Press) from the same address and this proved well placed for observing the goings-on of the local populace. This (1960) was only a year after prostitutes had been banned from soliciting on the streets of London, so many of the entrances to the predominantly Georgian buildings in Frith Street bore small notices advertising “Violin Lessons” and similar musical instructions. There was no shortage of aspiring Paganinis, some of whose lessons were remarkably short! Originally opposite the "Two i’s" bar in Old Compton Street (where I saw a young Eden Kane), the restaurant “Act One, Scene One” relocated close to the corner of Wardour Street and Brewer Street. Here one could rub shoulders with all manner of celebrities from the theatrical world; we once shared a table with David Jacobs and Frank Finlay.

Oscar and Ina who had a small handbag factory in Brewer Street were regulars here as were many film people from the top end of the street. Much of my shopping was done in the Berwick Street market and Soho Square is remembered for crashing my scooter there in the snow of that awful winter of ‘62/’63. Old Compton Street was not without its interests. The flamboyant Prince “I gotta horse” Monolulu was regularly shouting the odds and there was a chap with a large tap attached to his forehead by a red, rubber suction cup and who would dart out from shop doorways to squirt anyone within range with a spray of rose water. He disappeared from time to time during which absence we supposed he was back in the mental home. I was awarded a small bonus for some forgotten reason and treated myself to twenty exotic Sullivan Powell Turkish cigarettes from Coleman Cohen on the Frith Street corner. This shop was noted for the sale of quality cigars and since in those days one did not light a cigar with a cigarette lighter - only a match - the counter held a polished brass standard which provided a permanently lit flame from which you could fire up your new Romeo y Juliet. Or, on the odd occasion when I could afford anything more expensive than Woodbines, an American White Owl but the man behind the counter made it plain that my choice of smoke was not in the best of taste.

I suspect taste was defined as a function of cost! I used to provide piano accompaniment for a dancer who practiced at the Max Rivers studios near Newport Place (where there were several HiFi shops – a bit like Tottenham Court Road) on the other side of Shaftesbury Avenue, but that may not have been in Soho, which, incidentally, I do not recall as being “Chinatown”. Certainly, there were Chinese restaurants there, Ley-On’s being the best remembered; I imagine “Chinatown” must be a more recent and probably American import. I’ve not been there since 1963, preferring to leave treasured memories untarnished by the subsequent changes made to the fondly-remembered London of my early twenties.

Recollections of Cadogan Lane - Dermot Elworthy
When I lived in the Chelsea area, the King's Road road was essentially a local high street much as in any other London borough - half-day closing was Wednesday if I remember correctly. The "swinging" bit and accompanying "Sloanes" which were to transform Chelsea were to arrive later. In 1960, I lived off the King’s Road in Redesdale Street, SW3.  My address in Redesdale Street was 4a which was a basement flat in the house owned by a New Zealander, Miss Molly Russell to whom I paid £7/week rent - SW3 was expensive, even then! I also remember a Colonel O’Rourke living in adjacent St Leonard’s Square and who sometimes had an enormous “Colonial” model Napier (ca,1912) parked in the Square. I have a photo of this monster next to my 1929 Austin Seven. Later, I was working in the Jaguar service department of Tankard and Smith, (194/198 King’s Road) and by which time the company had discontinued petrol sales. The manager of the Jaguar section was one Harry le Duc who moved to work for another garage near Croydon. I then assumed responsibility for Jaguar servicing and repair as well as the maintenance of Trevor Chinn’s pre-War 1750 Alfa Romeo. Chinn was a director of the Lex Group who then owned Tankard and Smith.

Stewart and Ardern, the Wolseley agents, were close-by in Flood Street. I can’t remember the name of the pub up the road in Old Church Street where Antony Armstrong-Jones used to hang out but I'm sure it was on the corner of Old Church St and the King's Road. I seem to remember the pub was known as "The Six Bells" or something similar but I'm very probably wrong - it was all a long time ago! I never patronised the hostelry - I think it was a Watneys house and I could not abide their urinary Red Barrel - but it was a well-known rendezvous for people of Armstrong-Jones's persuasion, sharing a similar reputation with that of "The Coleherne Arms" in Old Brompton Road.

. From T&S I moved to the venerable coachbuilders, Offord and Sons of Courtfield Gardens. Here I worked for Gordon Offord, the last of the family who had owned the company since the 18th century. I remember one job in particular; I cast in lead some replacement finials for the Lord Mayor of London’s coach. The service area was in Astwood Mews where Nobby Spero garaged his 250F Maserati racing car. This was occasionally taken out before a Vintage Sports Car Club meeting and it scattered the VW Beetles littering the mews outside Continental Motors who took care of these alien machines brought back by returning British servicemen before there was an official UK importer. 1962/3 found me at 73 Cadogan Lane with Yimkin Engineering, a small enterprise engaged in the then popular stage-tuning business. This, along with the Gordon and Glynn used car sales office opposite, (and next door to a Miss Blenkinsop) was owned by the charming Mrs Phyllis Herbert. Some half-dozen Yimkin sports/racing cars were manufactured there and I campaigned one of these during the 1963 season.

Cadogan Lane, comprising mostly mews properties, was home to several motor garages. These included one owned by a Mike Braby who raced a FJ Emeryson. Further up the Lane Warren Pearce had a Jaguar tuning shop next to Witchers who were Renault dealers. The London service department of the German manufacturer Goggomobil was to be found near the Pont Street end. I knew the famous racing driver Graham Hill tolerably well and one day he visited me at Yimkin’s premises. He suggested that we borrow a couple of the diminutive Goggomobil TS Coupés and have a race around Lowndes Square and back. I put the idea to the Goggo service manager, thinking he would welcome the publicity but he wasn’t interested and thus deprived me of some reflected glory! My next employment found me in the service department of H R Owen, Rolls Royce and Bentley agents in Old Brompton Road. However, I found this rather dull and subsequently joined Aston Martin in Feltham. This took me away from SW3/5 where I had lived since 1959, at one time in the William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) old house in Eardley Crescent and I did not reside in London again. Nearly all these places are now long gone and the mews garages incorporated within ridiculously expensive bijou residences. But I think it important to record the memories, however humble and seemingly irrelevant, of a pre-property boom London unrecognisably different from the cesspool of feral humanity that the city has become. Sixty-odd years ago, I shared Dr Johnson’s view of London. Sadly, that no longer is the case.

Kings Road, Chelsea - Graham Etchell
I found your marvellous site by chance and I hope the following is of use, feel free to use all or any of it.
105 has a question mark alongside the word Pawnbrokers. Both pictures titled (1) H.J. Tilson & Sons and (2) titled Chelsea Pawnbrokers are the same property. Tilson was in fact ‘Tuson’ (not Tilson) & Sons and was a silversmith and pawn shop. The shop used to display a vast array of silver (hence the shutters)! The curved window’s showing clearly in pic (2) are covered up by the shutters in pic (1). The pawn shop was a bit more discreet and accessed through the street door (visible in (1) and located on the shop side of the railings in pic (2). Once through the door there was a counter on the right which was separated into individual sections for privacy.
385-387 Former Police Station When the police moved out and the Community Centre moved in the basement became home to Chelsea Boys’ Club. In the picture you can sees a series of small windows showing just above the pavement and continuing behind the fencing. The entrance to the boys’ club was at the side of the building the sign on the side of the building reads Chelsea Boys Club’ above an advert for Pepsi. The club occupied the former police station’s cells, you will be pleased to know that the cell doors had been removed! The building was also very popular with film makers and can be seen in quite a few films, disguised as its former use, a police station.
416 You have two images (1) titled Milbanks and (2) Travel Agents. Both have question marks next to them. Milbanks spelling is incorrect (it was called ‘Milbanke’ Travel Ltd) both pics are the same premises and the same occupier. The shop once had a working train set as part of its window display with a coin slot on its exterior just below the window. Kids used put in a coin (probably a penny) which would then activate the train set. A great gimmick and always in use. Also, as you view Pic (1), to the shop’s left shows the building next door with black and red brickwork, this was the Chelsea Conservative Club (they also had a club in Chelsea Manor Street) and the zebra crossing on the shops right leads across the road to the former police station.

Pop The Question - Southern TV 1965/66
- Sue Robinson
I was interested to read about the 60s pop TV programmes as I was a contestant on Pop the Question. It was either 1965 or 1966. Wish I could remember more precisely. It was recorded in Lewes, East Sussex - I’m pretty sure it was at the Corn Exchange. Shaw Taylor was the quiz master and the pop star guest was Billy Fury, who was, quite honestly, already losing popularity. I got both their autographs which I still have buried somewhere in the house. Goodness knows where! I was either 15 or 16 and only got one question wrong (where did Adam Faith live. I guessed at London but apparently he lived then in Esher). I answered more questions correctly than anyone else and won, my prize being a selection of LPs (I remember being less than impressed by what was on offer!).

235 King's Road - Rodney Rawlings (Canada)
I was so pleased to stumble across your marvellous Swinging Sixties website. Thank you for providing this service! Here is some information on 235 Kings, the restaurant at 235 Kings Road that I owned from 1965 until 1974. I bought it from Jonathan Hanson and his business partners and transformed it from a half-baked restaurant with loads of potential into one of the most popular restaurants of all time—one that provided me with a more carefree, luxurious lifestyle than I could ever have anticipated. It was a delightful, immensely popular, 50-seat bistro whose devoted regulars at various times included Dudley Moore (always ordered Shepherd’s Pie), Lance Percival, Derek Nimmo, Alan Bates (it was a great place for unhurried after-theatre dinners), Jean Muir, James Clavell, The Hollies, James Hunt, Marjorie Parr, John Cowan, Dan Topolski and the current Oxford eight, and innumerable others. Nigel Dempster and the William Hickey team usually commandeered one end of the communal centre table at jam-packed Saturday lunches. More rarefied visitors included Lee Marvin, Julie Christie, Charlotte Rampling, Brigitte Bardot, the King of Sikkim, Princess Anne, Mick Jagger, Tiny Tim... and others, with everyone eating at shared, candle-lit tables (there were no tables for two) in an always welcoming, paparazzi-free atmosphere. The waitresses and manageresses were - along with the simple, excellent food and the remarkable atmosphere - key to the restaurant’s phenomenal success and many of them went on to impressive futures. Mrs Day, the elderly, immaculately turned-out, feisty ‘cleaning lady’ who cleaned the place, seven nights a week, year after year, was treasured by all. Sign-written on the door of 235 Kings was the message, “Interdit aux paysans!” (By ‘peasants’ we meant uncouth, uncivil people of any sort, including Hooray Henrys and the like.) “Cet etablissement est un lieu prive, cree surtout pour l’amusement du patron et son personnel. Si vous voulez manger ici, soyez sympathique”.’ Immediately to the east of and behind the restaurant (its entrance sharing the lefthand of the two distinctive arches) was Nicholls Bros, Builders’ Merchants. They were there before we arrived and were still there when I sold the restaurant in 1974. For 287 Kings Road your chart shows Chelsea Book Shop. This is presently the address of Raffles, described online currently as “a private members’ club founded in 1967, frequented by the well-healed and the famous”. Raffles was definitely there around 1970, and very nice it was too. I lived opposite it, on three gorgeous floors at 312A Kings Road—above what I see listed in your chart as the Chelsea Grill. I have no recollection of the restaurant’s name between 1965 and 1974 while I lived above it, but it was no great shakes: maybe Greek, maybe something else, but very quiet and uninteresting. My memory of the northwest corner of Kings Road and Old Church Street, shown on your chart as 304 Alkasura 1969-1975, was that it was a bank, probably a National Westminster bank—because, as I remember it, that was where we banked the restaurant’s takings in the early hours of every morning. But I may be a few yards out on that one. Another memory that I have is of a huge building on Old Church Street, on the west side just a few buildings south of Kings Road, that n earlier times stabled horses that drew London’s horse-drawn buses. I looked over the premises when they were for sale in the late Sixties or very early Seventies, and one of its features was the very extended, very slowly ascending stairway up which the horses made their ways to the first and second floors. I am attaching a photograph of 235 Kings taken in 1970 (or thereabouts) with three of my waitresses and my bearded collie, Scrubber, outside. Best regards, Rodney Rawlings.

235 King's Road - Jacques Bassat
I was very happy to find your site and picture of 235 Kings restaurant. I was 24 years old and I was the French assistant of John Cowan fashion photographer at 39 Princess Place in Notting Hill in 67. One day Andrew Capewell, the manager, tells me we are going to have lunch at the Kings restaurant in King’s Road. Ten minutes later, the first thing I saw when entering the restaurant was a very large host table with, above, a fringed lampshade of the same size as the table and people under it. We could see just their shoulders and backs but not their heads. A funny view ! Of course it was impossible to recognise anybody - I presume that was the goal. There were a few people in the dining room and before sitting down I saw a young man sit down on the top of his chair with his feet on the seat. He was alone and I met his eyes above his small round glasses on the end of his nose. It was John Lennon ! What a surprise ! I sat at the host table in front of a young and pretty girl with glasses. When she heard me speak French with Andrew Capewell she asked me if I was French and we started a conversation and talked together during the whole lunch. She spoke in a perfect French and she was very friendly. At the end of the lunch we had to go back to work and we said goodbye and shook hands. As soon as we were outside Andrew told me : do you know the girl you were speaking to? I said no. Why ? Because said Andrew she was the girl with 'feet nudes' ! I was furious I didn’t recognise Sandy Shaw and I regret always that I didn't ask her phone number. She was very sympathetiic and charming !
Soho - Stuart Conway
From 1961 to 1964 I worked for Reg Knight who owned a photo studio in Soho called "Studio Six" in Old Compton. I remember a beggar who walked around the area with a bath tap stuck on his forehead. The studio was directly opposite the Two I’s coffee bar. We were just across the road on the top floor. I can’t remember the Two I’s owner’s name, even though at the time I knew him quite well. I remember he had slicked back hair which I thought, even back then, was too black to be natural. He would bring us pictures for us to copy and we would make hundreds of prints for him - that was part of my main job. I did a famous picture of “Screaming Lord Sutch" in a chair with very long hair and someone behind him with a big saw about to cut it and Lord Sutch with his mouth open screaming “No”.
We also did a picture of Cliff Richard leaning on the Two I’s juke box back when when he had short and very curly hair. Because I knew him, he gave me and my band a gig. At that time every band wanted to play in the Two I’s, so I got to stand and play on that tiny corner stage in the basement where all those famous people had stood before me. My band went down well and the place was packed but we didn’t get 'discovered' …damn it! Next door to us was a coffee bar called the “Act One Scene One” where I used to see Mick Jagger and Keith Richards before they really hit the big time.
Further along the road was a great record shop 'Alex Strickland' and that’s where I bought my 45s. At the end of Old Compton Street where it met Charring Cross Road was an outfitter that sold stage clothes for bands. I reckon it was The Stones that put paid to that business because they came on stage in what looked like their every day tatty torn jeans and shirts, and soon after that matching suits and ties and glittery waistcoats were definitely out. I did some recordings at Regent Sound Studio and was amused and amazed that the sound proofing was just a load of old egg boxes glued to the
walls and ceilings. I spent all my spare time in Selmers guitar shop, which was my all-time favourite place. My band did gigs at The Whisky, The Flamingo, The Marquee and The 100 club. We even did Ronnie Scott’s, as well as many other places such as The Celebrite,The Kilt, and The El Toro in Finchley Road near Swiss Cottage, so I spent all my days in the Soho studio, and all my nights in the Soho clubs…Ah happy days. Regards Stuart Conway
Alan Freeman with Harvey Staples

Carnaby Street - Tina Palmer

Having seen an episode of Michael Portillo's programme featuring Carnaby Street in the Sixties, I saw a clip of the betting office 'Universal Commissions'. Universal Commissions was in fact my father's business - my father Emile Gatta founded it with his close friend Oscar Bucchioni. Oscar owned an Italian restaurant in the mid fifties, called Oscar's, and ran one of the first Italian coffee shops on the premises at 31 Carnaby Street that was to become Universal Commissions. It was a very very busy and well-known coffee shop during the late 50's and all the performers from the Palladium used to frequent it every lunchtime which is where Oscar met his wife as she was one of the original Tiller Girls. My father and Oscar opened the betting office in the rooms above the restaurant in the late fifties, possibly 1957 but the gambling laws changed in 1960 which was when they closed the restaurant and opened it as "Universal Commissions", one of the first betting shops in London.
They remained there until the shop was sold to Aristos in 1971.

Alan Freeman - Harvey Staples
I thought you might like to have this picture (right) of myself and Fluff at the Capital Radio studios in London circa 1994. I knew Alan from the 70’s when I used to work at the BBC at Portland Place - we were friends for years after that and used to visit him at his flat in Maida Vale. He had a lovely black grand piano and Roman-looking pillars in his flat and he told me that John Lennon and Paul McCartney had played on the piano. He also used to record 'The Roof Garden Interviews' for Radio 1 on the roof of his flat.

Chelsea - Peter Stephens
I've just come across your excellent Sixties City website and it has brought back a lot of memories. I can't be 100% accurate about where the establishments were as it was rather a long time ago - but I'll do my best! I lived first in Walpole Street, then Beaufort Street, and then Royal Avenue. I'm not a Londoner and I only lived there from 1959-64 and then on and off until December 1967. On the left hand side going away from Sloane Square there was a boutique called S.W.3 in the Walpole Street/Royal Avenue area. I remember my wife buying a mini-skirt there in the autumn of 1967. Also in the Walpole Street/Royal Avenue area there was a shop called Martin's, which sold records, record players and some other electrical goods. Near the Six Bells public house was the Chelsea Record Centre. On the right hand side going away from Sloane Square there was a Lilley & Skinner between Dolcis and Peter Jones, nearer Peter Jones if I remember correctly. I also had an account at the Midland Bank, which was near Dolcis. Finch's public house was somewhere near Bywater Street. A little further on, in the region of Markham Square, was the Bar-B-Q restaurant. It was fairly basic, plain tables and chairs, crockery and cutlery, but it served large portions of good quality food at reasonable prices. I once saw Dame Sybil Thorndike eating in there. She was said to be a regular customer. I have one story about the Keno Coffee House. I used to meet a friend there on Tuesday afternoons in 1962, and Mandy Rice-Davies and Rachman the slum landlord used to arrive at about the same time. He always parked his blue Rolls-Royce right outside. I don't know how there always came to be a space - perhaps he paid someone. This was before the Profumo scandal broke, so we didn't know who they were then, but suddenly they stopped coming in the November of 1962. When the scandal broke we found out that Rachman had died suddenly in November 1962.

World's End - Kevin Barry
I came across your Sixties City site, which I much enjoyed as I grew up in the area through the 50s, 60s and 70s. I lived in Ifield Road as a kid and remember the film crew at Nick's Diner just up the road filming scenes for 'The Servant'. From memory, #502 was Chelsea Scooters - a well-known hangout for the area's mods. There was a massage parlour between Chelsea Scooters and Edith Grove; sorry, can't remember exactly where. Town Records was located in one of these stores at #400 - #404 - a brilliant record shop owned by a guy called Eddie. Between Beaufort Street and Park Walk north side - the Chelsea Kitchen served great food at rock bottom prices.
Across the road at #327 or #329 there was a creperie called Asterix for a while. Very trendy. Slightly off your map but perhaps worth a mention - the house at the top of Edith Grove contained a flat owned by Nicolas Saunders who wrote the 70s 'Alternative London' book. The well-known artist, Enzo Plazzotta's studio was in Cathcart Road. My mother worked for him for several years. I have attached fyi one of his etchings World's End 1973 illustrating the erection of the World's End estate (right - click for larger image).
Plazzotta World's End 1973

King's Road - Anne Sutherland
I just happened to find your web page this afternoon whilst looking up details of a Boutique I worked in during 1967/1968. I applied for a job from an advertisement in The Times newspaper. It read 'Wanted - super secretary for super job with super clothes'. I got the job and started work in the attic as secretary to Mr. Frank Federer and Mr. Henry Keith who owned a clothing manufacturing company based in Bolsover Street called Keith Federer which traded with the Kweens label. On the ground floor of the shop was a retail space and a door to a stock room. The second floor comprised the directors' offices and an empty floor space for modelling the clothes for prospective buyers. All the garments sold in the shop had the Kweens label and were sold to independent boutiques all over the country. There was a garment called 'Pan Pan' which consisted of a very short dress with round neck and cap sleeves. Hundreds of these in different colours were produced and the factory worked flat out. They were very popular. I shared the attic office with an accountantant/book keeper who was constantly trying to keep the books straight as any new boutiques buying goods from us without the correct references had to pay in cash and more often than not Henry would put the money in his shirt top pocket and forget he had it so invoices went out for goods that had already been paid for. I was expected to work long hours - just as I was going home an extra letter or two were found for dictation and when Henry discovered that my train got me to the office half an hour early he quickly utilised it. If he had a client in the showroom and no one else was available I had to find time to model the clothes too! There were two or three assistants in the shop and I believe a Mr. Mendoza was stockroom manager. A Mr. Paul Leader was the Sales Representative. The back window of my office overlooked the Club dell'Aretusa but I only remember seeing Twiggy pushing a lettuce around her plate, and Lionel Bart.

King's Road - Janice Shannon
I was fascinated by your map of the Kings Road where I was born and spent my early childhood. My husband worked in a mens boutique called All Kinds at 168 Kings Road, next to Lloyds Bank from 1970-1972. Unfortunately we haven't got a photograph. His father worked at the College of Science and Technology which was situated either side of Manresa Road next to the fire station ie 268-270 Kings Road. All Kinds traded from the late 60s to the mid 70s. It was owned by David Pratt and sold very modern boutique menswear. Many famous customers shopped there including The Four Tops, The Temptations and famous footballers. My husband served Tony Curtis and sold him a jacket. When they released the musical Hair a group of nude women ran down the Kings Road and some came into the shop. The alterations to the clothes sold in the shop were done by Freddie Burretti the famous designer for David Bowie who became a good friend of my husband. He worked in a tailors above one of the shops near Take Six.

The Duke Duval Rockers - Terry Dowker (Duke Duval Guitarist)
The group appeared at The Cavern with Acker Bilk and The John Barry 7 (and other sessions with locally known Merseyside bands) as early as 1958-59 (Acker Bilk) 1960 (The John Barry 7). Duke Duval played as a rock band and not as a skiffle group. As you know this era was the beginning of the transition from Jazz to Rock. The Duke Duval Rockers (or as they were usually known, just Duke Duval) were an integral part of this. The band didn't just appear then - the embryo began in 1954-55 as The Black Denim Boys Skiffle Group. In 1957 the name and the music genre were changed to Duke Duval and Rock respectively. A bit of added interest, when Bob [Wooler] lived in Garston he used to lend us his microphone to help us rehearse, with proviso we would return it the same evening for his MC/DJ work. Recently I came across a list of 10 Cavern facts. Rory Storm and The Hurricanes weres entered as the first rock band to appear there, but it looks likely to have been Duke Duval. I hope you engage with my points of interest and enjoy reading them.

The Michael Henry Group - Dave
Hi, I have just been looking on your site to see if my old group is listed. (Brilliant site by the way) I was in a group in the 60's, we were a soul band with Colin Areety as our singer, we played all the clubs in Liverpool and supported nearly all the American Soul Artists who came over to Liverpool and performed on the Mardi Gras (Mount Pleasant) and the Victoriana (Victoria Street.). Our band was called "The Michael Henry Group" and are named on the Mathew Street 'Wall of Fame' There is a band in your list called "The Michael Allen Group" and I remember meeting one of the band in the Blue Angel Club about 1968 but they had long since disbanded. Please feel free to contact me if you need anymore info. Dave (Blowes)

King's Road - Angela Harrison-Smith
I've just been looking at your website for nostalgic reasons - I used to be a Saturday girl at Just Looking in the early seventies- and thought you may be interested in number 27 Kings Road which you show as "unable to identify". It was a boutique called The Patio - my mother used to work there as an alterationist on the top floor, again in the early seventies. Hope you find this of interest and many thanks for your work in developing this site. It has been a real walk down memory lane. Going to the the Chelsea Drugstore in my lunch hour was the highlight of my week!

Cranks - Jeff Dexter
Cranks had Cranks 2 at 10 Ganton Street as well as their first at 22 Carnaby Street, while they were constructing the new building on Marshall Street, plus they had a food Shop at 24 Carnaby Street, a grain store on Newburgh Street, that later moved to 37 Marshall Street too. Hope this is more than useful. Re Dougie Millings: My mentor, later working partner, and house mate, Ian 'Sammy' Samwell was fitted out by him for some time before that, and I got my first suit from there at the tail end of 1961. Dougie had already dressed Cliff Richard, the Shadows and Adam Faith too. Tony Calder, 'Sammy' and I got the Beatles to Dougie's early 62. DJHistory - Jeff Dexter

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