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Teddy Boys


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Teddy Boys

  1. 1. Who are they? Teddy Boy (also known as Ted) is a British subculture typified by young men wearing clothes that were partly inspired by the styles worn by dandies in the Edwardian period, styles which Saville Row tailors had attempted to re- introduce in Britain after World War II. The subculture started in London in the 1950s, and rapidly spread across the UK, soon becoming strongly associated with rock and roll. Originally known as Cosh Boys, the name Teddy Boy was coined when a 1953 Daily Express newspaper headline shortened Edwardian to Teddy.
  2. 2. Style Teddy Boy clothing included drape jackets reminiscent of 1940s American zoot suits worn by Italian-American, Chicano and African-American communities, usually in dark shades, sometimes with a velvet trim collar and pocket flaps, and high-waist "drainpipe" trousers, often exposing the socks. The outfit also included a high-necked loose-collared white shirt, a narrow "Slim Jim" tie or western "Maverick" tie, and a brocade waistcoat. The clothes were mostly tailor-made at great expense, and paid for through weekly instalments. Favoured footwear included highly polished Oxfords, chunky brogues, and crepe-soled shoes, often suede (known as brothel creepers). Preferred hairstyles included long, strongly-moulded greased-up hair with a quiff at the front and the side combed back to form a duck's arse at the rear. Another style was the "Boston", in which the hair was greased straight back and cut square across at the nape.
  3. 3. Music Although Teddy Boys became associated with rock and roll music, prior to the advent of that genre, Teddy Boys mainly listened and danced to jazz and skiffle music. A well-known dance that the Teddy Boys adopted was The Creep, a slow shuffle that was so popular with Teddy Boys that it led to their other nickname, Creepers. The song "The Creep" came out in 1953, and was written and recorded for HMV by Yorkshire-born big band leader and saxophonist Ken Mackintosh. Although this was not a rock and roll record, it was widely taken on by the Teddy Boys of the time. From 1955, rock and roll was adopted by the Teddy Boys when the film, Blackboard Jungle, was first shown in cinemas in the UK, and Teddy Boys started listening to artists like Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and Eddie Cochran.
  4. 4. Notting Hill Race Riots The Notting Hill race riots were a series of racially motivated riots that took place in London, England, over several nights in late August and early September 1958. The end of World War II had seen a marked increase in Caribbean migrants to Britain. By the 1950s white working-class "Teddy Boys" were beginning to display hostility towards the black families in the area, a situation exploited and inflamed by groups such as Sir Oswald Mosley's Union Movement and other far- right groups such as the White Defence League, who urged disaffected white residents to "Keep Britain White". There was an increase in violent attacks on black people through summer. For instance, on 24 August 1958 a group of ten white youths committed a series of serious assaults on six West Indian men in four separate incidents. At 5.40am, their car was spotted by two police officers who pursued them into the White City estate, where the gang abandoned the car. Using the car as a lead, investigating detectives arrested nine of the gang the next day after working non-stop for 20 hours. Their violent lifestyle was sensationalised in the pulp novel Teddy Boy by Ernest Ryman, first published in England in 1958.
  5. 5. Here's a clip of 1950's Teddy Boy being interviewed by a news reporter about an attack on a Vicar.