From hippies and hairstyles to football and fashion, The Sixties explores a fascinating decade of change.
Clothes, records, music, books, toys, food packaging and electrical goods bring the period back to life, both for those who remember it and for those who weren’t even born!
Experience the 60s for yourself by visiting York Castle Museum and exploring our themes of the era…..
This was the time when the pop music of the young became mainstream, when the success of pirate radio persuaded the BBC to launch Radio 1, when the Beatles dominated the world.
The miniskirt, as modelled by Twiggy, was the garment of the decade. Bold colours and patterns, simply-cut styles and man-made materials were all used in abundance. New boutiques and chain stores opened to meet demand.
The 60s saw the first transatlantic images beamed around the world by satellite and millions shared the experience of watching the 1969 moon landings and the 1966 World Cup Final.
The Olympics and World Cup Football gained wider popularity thanks to television and boxer Muhammad Ali became a new sporting hero. The advent of colour television brought the joys of snooker into the home.
Art and architecture
This was the era of ‘Pop Art’, with artists finding inspiration in food packaging, comic strips, science fiction and celebrity. New materials like PVC and plastics were used in interior design, and, in architecture, concrete was king.
An end to post-war hardship saw a rising demand for the latest designs and brands of washing machines, fridges, freezers, cookers, food mixers, televisions, radios and record players.
Children, too, had much more choice as cheaper, plastic toys became more available to all, with favourites including Airfix, Barbie and Ken, Hot Wheels and Corgi and Dinky cars.
Many look on the 60s as a permissive era, but despite the introduction of the contraceptive pill and decriminalising sex between men over 21, figures show the reality was quite different.
Hippie culture offered an alternative lifestyle to the conventional way of life and its impact was felt in fashion, music and changing social lives, even if it never managed to ‘change the world’.
During the 60s women’s role was still largely in the home and in the lowest paid jobs, but by the end of the decade women began to organise together to fight for equal rights.
The Wider World
It was a time of super powers and protest. While the USA and USSR dominated the decade with their ‘Cold War’, thousands opposed US involvement in the Vietnam War and civil rights and student protesters took to the streets across the world.
Listen to people’s memories of the 60s and add your own thoughts.