The Way We Wore - Teddy Boys.

After the Second World War, Britain saw the creation of perhaps the first true teenage revolution, The Teddy Boy. The rationing years were not such a distant memory and the nation was still scarred by the War both economically and psychologically.

Whilst it is commonly suggested that the Teddy Boy grew out of a British rebellion against the US Rock and Roll sound that was emerging midway through the 1950s.

However, the truth, in fact, happened some years earlier at the very beginning of the 1950s. Working-class kids were donning the Edwardian jackets, the drainpipes and Beetle Crushers combined with the 'slim jim' tie and the Brylcreemed pompadour, the Teddy Boy was a Frankenstein creation of WWII Spiv mixed with Harlem zoot-suited hipster.

The music at the beginning of the decade was more trad jazz and skiffle than true blue Rock and Roll. When the mid-'50s hit and the onslaught of Rock and Roll happened the Teddy Boys embraced it with all the gusto of a movement starved for too long of style and sex appeal! The film Blackboard Jungle rocked the cinemas in 1956 with Bill Haley and His Comets belting out 'Rock Around The Clock' for the first time to an unsuspecting post-war Britain, particularly the Elephant & Castle picture house - and the fuse was lit.

The conservative media world at the time couldn't resist but load everything wrong in society on the feral Teddy Boys. The truth again was quite different and was, of course, to be heard echoing down the generations from Mods to Hippies to Punks, all of whom had the same accusations thrown at them, it would always be a crime to be young and different.

As one of our very own Spring Chickens puts it,

Like all teenage culture groups, Teds, Rockers, Mods, Skins, Punks....Their reputations and the acts of a tiny minority were exaggerated and often fabricated by the tabloid papers and media. Lies, exaggerations and fake news, it's not new!

The Teddy Boy became all that was wrong with post-war Britain, they were the razor-wielding street criminals who lived to fight, the 'Cosh boys'. Of course, history shows there were a few that fell into that category but many were just interested in the fashion and the music.

As many of our Spring Chickens testify;

My first real boyfriend was a teddy boy he was gentle and kind and took such good care of me there was the odd one who was a bit of bad lad but mostly they were all good lads just liked the Ted clothes.

For so many, it was about style and the look,

Remember the shoes, my cousin had 'beetle crushers', and the quiff and DA haircut, we missed it all, become a Mod when I left school in 65, most of the ones in our area just like the clothes.

For many more, it was about the look, the music and of course the girls...

My big brother was a teddy boy he was one for girls music and football never got into trouble though. Always immaculate when he went out.

But the mother's of the teenage girls weren't about to take any chances;

Don't you bring no Teddy Boy's here, my mother used to're right....they were teddy bears compared to their equivalent today.

For many many of the Teddy Boy and Girls trouble was the last thing on their mind they were enjoying the glories of youth and the freedom the end of WWII had afforded them.

Besides as Spring Chicken, Sue Simms puts it,

They were too worried about getting their hair messed up.

Were you a 'Teddy Boy'? - let us know your memories in the comments below.

Header Image - Cadillac Dancing Pixabay


1950sDo you remember?Memory laneNostalgiaRock and rollRock'n'rollTeddy boysThe teds


Heather Davies

I remember walking down the street with my Teddy Boy boyfriend when I saw my mother coming round the corner. I dived into the nearest front garden so that she didn’t see me!

Heather Davies

I remember walking down the street with my Teddy Boy boyfriend when I saw my mother coming round the corner. I dived into the nearest front garden so that she didn’t see me!

Paul Thorne

I loved the music of Chuck Berry and Little Richard and through going to Youth Clubs I got friendly with quite a few ‘Teds’ and I liked their dress but attending Grammar School it was difficult to follow their style..However I did get my friend’s Mum to taper in my school trousers to 15 inch bottoms and bought myself a pair of black suede shoes complete with music notes in gold but these I had to hide from family! Great times though!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Request a brochure

Request a brochure