Teddy Boy (subculture)
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 Savile 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 American 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.
Wealthy young men, especially Guards officers, adopted the style of the Edwardian era. At that point in history, the Edwardian era was then just over 40 years previous, and their grandparents, if not their parents, wore the style the first time around. The original Edwardian revival was far more historically accurate in terms of replicating the original Edwardian era style than the later Teddy Boy style. It featured tapered trousers, long jackets that bear a similarity to post-war American zoot suits and fancy waist coats.
Although there had been youth groups with their own dress codes called scuttlers in 19th century Manchester and Liverpool, Teddy Boys were the first youth group in England to differentiate themselves as teenagers, helping create a youth market. The US film Blackboard Jungle marked a watershed in the United Kingdom. When shown in Elephant and Castle, south London in 1956, the teenage Teddy boy audience began to riot, tearing up seats and dancing in the cinema's aisles. After that, riots took place around the country wherever the film was shown.
Some Teds formed gangs and gained notoriety following violent clashes with rival gangs which were often exaggerated by the popular press. The most notable were the 1958 Notting Hill race riots, in which Teddy Boys were present in large numbers and were implicated in attacks on the West Indian community. The violent lifestyle was sensationalised in the pulp novel Teddy Boy by Ernest Ryman, first published in England in 1958.
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Famous quotes containing the words teddy and/or boy:
“Is that the Craig Jurgesen that Teddy Roosevelt gave you?... And you used it at San Juan Hill defending liberty. Now you want to destroy it.”
—Laurence Stallings (18941968)
“Few misfortunes can befall a boy which bring worse consequences than to have a really affectionate mother.”
—W. Somerset Maugham (18741966)