The 1970s

So what memories do you have from the 1970's? Maybe you're too young to have any, and you're simply here to discover what the 70s were all about. Well, you're certainly in the right place!

Personally, I have so many memories (both good and bad) that it's hard to know just where to begin.

The UK in the 70s

As much as we'd like to think about the 1970s as "the good old days", it would be hard to ignore
the strikes that crippled Britain - a three day week was introduced in February 1972 to save on electricity, whilst the coal miners were striking.

Things weren't a whole lot better by the end of the decade when we experienced the winter of discontent. Not only was the weather freezing cold, but the unions were holding the country to ransom by demanding big pay rises. Prime Minister and Labour Party leader James Callaghan (pictured below) struggled to keep control, and after a strong tory election campaign
in 1979 with the motto "labour isn't working", he was ousted by Margaret Thatcher who became Great Britain's first women Prime Minister.

During the 70s there were many huge changes to our whole way of life. In 1971 Britain ditched the old pounds, shilling and pence to become decimalised. This caused big headaches for many people who struggled to get to grips with the new currency. In 1973
the UK decide to join Europe, becoming part of the common market.

Colour Television

Colour TVs found their way in to an ever-increasing number of British households in the 70s, and we could now watch the snooker in full colour! However, many people chose to rent their TV sets rather than buy them, with Rumbelows being one of the most well-known electrical retailers to rent them from.

By the end of the decade, some of us were playing interactive TV games made by Interstate and Binatone. They were about as basic as computer games could get, but this was the start of the computer gaming revolution.

70s Style

Who can forget the outrageous fashion styles such as flared trousers and platform shoes. And while skinheads and punks were dressing to look as "hard" as possible, other men were discovering their feminine side by spraying their hair with cossack, and covering themselves with the latest aftershaves such as Brut 33, Hai Karate, Old Spice and Pagan Man.
Hai Karate Soap Set
ThHai Karate name was used in a range of budget toiletries for men (that's being polite), some of which came with a martial arts style booklet explaining how to fend off the ladiesYou didn't need it, though, as one whiff of this stuff was enough to knock 'em dead - quite literally! 

Silver Jubilee

By 1977 the Queen had spent 25 years on the throneThe whole country celebrated the Silver Jubilee, and who remembers drinking strawberry flavoured Co-op Jubilade? In fact, everyone jumped on the bandwagon with just about every food item having a jubilee theme, from margarine to lollies. 
Co-op Stamps Book (late 70s)
A Co-op stamps book from the late 1970s
Rumbelows carrier bag
Rumbelows was once a rival to Dixons and Currys
1976 cassette recorders in an Argos catalogue
A page from a 1976 Argos catalogue featuring a range of cassette recorders by Pye, Philips, Decca, Grundig etc.
Look-in magazine from the 70s


Also known as the Junior TV Times, this magazine was published between 9th January 1971 and 12th March 1994. I really got excited when I saw a new edition on the shelves of the local newsagent, and used to have a whole stack of these in my bedroom. I never managed to collect every single issue, and I stopped buying it sometime in the early 80s, although I now wish I'd have continued buying each issue for pure nostalgia.  

Looking at the front cover above, I see there's a feature with footballer Steve Coppell who used to play for Man United at the time. He was bought by the club for £60,000 in 1975.
70s Magazine - Woman's Weekly - 19th May 1973
I Grew Up in the 70s
Space Dust popping candy



Known as popping candy in the U.S., who can forget the fizzy, tingling sensation that this made in your mouth? As a kid growing up in the 1970s, I couldn't get enough of it, and it's still being sold today, although it's now called Fizz Wiz.
Clackers toy



During the 1970s, if you weren't browsing through the latest issue of Look-In magazine while pouring Space Dust down your throat, you were probably playing with your clackers! Yes, this annoying toy was actually banned in some schools after numerous kids were injured by them, and they were eventually discontinued. 

Who'd have thought that banging two dangling balls together would be so much fun?
Magnavox Odyssey video game console
Magnavox Odyssey


Launched on May 24th 1972, the Magnavox Odyssey became the first commerically-produced video game console. In 1977, the Atari 2600 became the first console to accept plug-in cartridges. Also in 1977, the first mass-produced personal computers were launched - the Apple II and the Commodore PET.
Apple II advertisement
Commodore PET 2001 series - 1977
Photograph by Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr


(2001 SERIES)

This all-in-one home computer included a blue screen, keyboard, cassette tape player/recorder and, of course, the computer itself - all controlled by a 6502 processor. The first units were shipped out in October 1977, five months after the first Apple II's hit the market.

The original keyboard was problematic, and although it looked futuristic, it was awkward to type with due mainly to its small size. Commodore launched a new PET in 1979 called the 2001-N and this featured a full-size keyboard, green screen, but no in-built cassette unit.


This games console featured built-in sports game such as tennis, football and squash, which were all based on pong with very simple graphics. In 1978, the TV Master became the top-selling TV game in Britain. I received one of these for Christmas, although at the time my parents were pretty skint (as were a good many people in the 1970s) and really had to scrape together enough money to buy one.
Binatone TV Master
1970′s inventions that changed our way of life
Visit our Retro Mugs pages
pogo stick
Creative commons photo by srd2005


Best described as a bouncing pole with handles at the top and foot rests at the bottom, the pogo stick first became popular way back in the 1920s. There was a resurgence in popularity during the 1970s and in recent times it has become an extreme sport.


Above is a Public Domain photo of a 1975 Austin 1800. This model became the British Leyland Princess, although it has been wrongly labelled the Austin Princess by many people.

During the 1970s, the roads of the British Isles were dominated by British cars, with British Leyland and Ford dominating the car market. 60% of Fords were built in the UK, with the Cortina and Escort being the most popular of the 70s. The Mini and Morris Marina were not far behind, although the latter was plagued with mechanical problems, as we found out on a holiday to Scotland!
British Leyland logo
White 1974 Ford Capri 3.0 GXL - public domain image
The Ford Capri was a fastback coupe that became a 70s icon. It was built between 1969 and 1986, and was seen as the European version of the Mustang. You may well remember Bodie and Doyle driving a Capri in the hit TV series The Professionals.


First published in 1964, Jackie was a teenage girls magazine which was published on a weekly basis. It became a best-seller during the mid seventies amongst the teen mags, peaking at over 600,000 sales per week in 1976. 

Many controversial subjects were covered such as contraception and sex issues, and the "Dear Cathy and Claire" problem letters page was particularly popular.

However, by the 90s the circulation had dropped to less than 50,000 and the magazine was seen as offering a tired and out-dated formatThe last issue was published on 3rd July 1993.
Jackie Magazine Nov 1978 ft. John Travolta
Jackie Magazine 28th August 1971


In the 70s you could buy many things with just a 5 pence coin. Popswop magazine was one of them, and the issue above is No.74 from March 1974. This was a colourful, entertaining pop music magazine which included lots of posters to pin on your wall. I used to use sellotape myself, much to the annoyance of my parents who used to shout at me "you'll take the paint off the door!".  
Popswop magazine no.74 - March 1974
Popswop Magazine No.76 March 16th 1974


The word processor was actually invented in 1972, but before they became affordable (along with electric typewriters), you had to rely on a manual typewriter. Not only did the keys hurt your fingers, but just one wrong move and you had to start all over again. You could use a well-known brand of correction fluid, of course, but it just looked so damn unprofessional!
Montgomery Ward Escort 55
Tipp-ex correction fluid
Tufty Annual 1970 RoSPA
70s Cars board at Pinterest