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OOS 1965: The Year Modern Britain Was Born - The Tank Museum
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1965: The Year Modern Britain Was Born

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1965 was the year when everything changed - and the year that everyone knew it. Christopher Bray describes why.

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By Christopher Bray

There is Britain before 1965 and Britain after 1965 - and they are not the same thing.

965 was the year Britain democratised education, it was the year pop culture began to be taken as seriously as high art, the time when comedians and television shows imported the methods of modernism into their work. It was when communications across the Atlantic became instantaneous, the year when, for the first time in a century, British artists took American gallery-goers by storm. In 1965 the Beatles proved that rock and roll could be art and it was when we went car crazy, It was the year feminism went mainstream, the year taboos were talked up - and trashed. It was when racial discrimination was outlawed and the death penalty abolished; it marked the appointment of Roy Jenkins as Home Secretary, who became chief architect in legislating homosexuality, divorce, abortion and censorship. It was the year of consumerist relativism that gave us the country we live in today and the year the idea of a home full of cultural artefacts - books, records, magazines - was born. It was the year when everything changed - and the year that everyone knew it.

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