Many of us are aware of the saying, ‘If you can remember the 60’s, you weren’t really there’, a reference to the dizzying, sometimes drug and alcohol induced climate that seems to mark that decade.
For me, this saying does a great disservice to a challenging and exciting period of history. Our records of the events of the 1960s have recently inspired a partnership project involving The National Archives, the V&A Museum and students of Wren Academy, snippets of which can be seen in this film.
The National Archives’ collections from this period cover both the sobering and the frivolous, from the war in Vietnam and the introduction of new legislation protecting women, gay and migrant groups to the rise of the UK’s fashion industry or concerns over the increasing popularity of pirate radio. Gaining in strength throughout is a new voice; that of a young, more affluent generation determined to shake off the shackles of the conventional in favour of the ‘modern’. In the 1960s, this voice appeared to be concerning a large number of people.