Teddy Boys: Preliminary Research

The topic that I am planning on conducting my research around is the impact of the British Teddy Boys on youth subculture post WWII. I am interested in the movement’s influence on rock-n-roll and the music scene, along with the investigating the more negative side of the Teddy Boys’ actions. While it was not difficult to find secondary sources and images of Teddy Boys from the 1950s and 60s with their distinguishable greased up hair and drape suit jackets, I struggled to locate quality primary sources. The primary sources that I found came from the Media History Digital Library and Internet Archive, consisting of clippings from early cinema publications. These sources all seem to be painting the Teddy Boys solely as hoodlums who carry out “underworld activities” (Film Bulletin Company, 1960), likely a continuation of their portrayal in film during that time period.

On the other hand, the secondary sources that I found offered a much broader range of information and perspectives about the influence of the Teddy Boys. An article by The British Newspaper Archive is filled with primary source clippings and images that are supported by information by author Rose Staveley-Wadham. She discusses the Edwardian influence on the Teddy Boys’ iconic style, along with the “hooligan” branding and belief among British youth that they needed to dress like a Teddy Boy to fit in to society (Staveley-Wadham, 2020). I believe that sources such as Staveley-Wadham’s will be pivotal for the continuation of my research; secondary sources that are littered with primary documents, images, and information.

There is still so much for me to learn and I am excited to continue exploring the impact of the Teddy Boys on youth subcultural in the UK. Finding sources may turn out to be more tedious that I had originally expected, however this will not deter me from enjoying the research and design processes.

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Works Cited

Best, Amy L. “Youth Culture in Modern Britain, C1920-c. 1970.” Journal of Social History, vol. 44, no. 1, Fall 2010, pp. 282–83. ProQuest, https://www.proquest.com/docview/755013975/abstract/98022AB5DAB645FFPQ/1.

Film Bulletin Company and Film Bulletin Company. Film Bulletin (1960). New York, Film Bulletin Company, 1960. Internet Archive, http://archive.org/details/filmbulletin196028film.

Lon26675-Teaser-Story-Big.Jpg (1204×804). https://kennywilsonmusic.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/lon26675-teaser-story-big.jpg?w=1204. Accessed 20 Feb. 2023.

Motion Picture Daily. New York [Motion picture daily, inc.], 19 ]. Internet Archive, http://archive.org/details/motionpicturedai88unse_0.

Mitchell, Mitch. “A Brief History of the Teddy Boys.” Rs21, 19 Feb. 2019, https://www.rs21.org.uk/2019/02/19/a-brief-history-of-the-teddy-boys/.

Photoplay (Jan-Jun 1963) – Lantern. https://lantern.mediahist.org/catalog/photoplayjanjun100macf_18_0324. Accessed 20 Feb. 2023.

Staveley-Wadham, Rose. The British Newspaper Archive Blog The Teddy Boys of the 1950s | The British Newspaper Archive Blog. 7 Apr. 2020, https://blog.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/2020/04/07/a-look-at-the-teddy-boys-of-the-1950s/.