33 pictures that show what hippie Britain was really like

Proof of just how far out hippies could be in 1960s and 70s Britain…

Oliver Lunn
Updated:

1. John Lennon-style hippie glasses were ubiquitous in swinging London. Even on the dance floor. In the dark.

Good Strong Coffee (1968)

Good Strong Coffee (1968)

2. The dance steps matched the attitude: casual and colourful.

Good Strong Coffee (1968)

3. But then again, maybe it’s less about crazy hand gestures and more about lava-lamp lighting?

Good Strong Coffee (1968)

4. Here’s what broadcast journalism, circa 1973, looked like.

Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles (1973)

Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles (1973)

5. 1973 was also the year The Wicker Man came out. Which might explain the surge in maypoles and freaky animal costumes.

Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles (1973)

6. A ritualistic dance around the maypole at night.

Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles (1973)

7. In 1970s Notting Hill, guitar-wielding hippies could still turn heads.

Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate (1970)

Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate (1970)

8. ‘FEELINGS SHOULD BE FELT, AND NOT HARD’

Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate (1970)

9. A rooftop recording session for this master of the sitar.

Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate (1970)

10. The lead singer of Quintessence – a band that fused jazz, psych and progressive rock – bangs his drum in Notting Hill.

Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate (1970)

11. Meanwhile, out on the street, hippies strut.

Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate (1970)

12. How to stand out on the Portobello Road in the 1970s.

Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate (1970)

13. Step inside the office.

Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate (1970)

14. Mr Tambourine Man, jamming by the apple box.

Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate (1970)

15. And here he is in meaner mood, shisha pipe ready.

Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate (1970)

16. Is this a 1969 dance festival or a 1969 cult lead by a charismatic hippie? Or both?

Dance Festival (1969)

Dance Festival (1969)

17. Yes, that is what you think it is.

Dance Festival (1969)

18. Spliffs, joints + pot = ???

Spliffs, Joints and Pot (1965)

Spliffs, Joints and Pot (1965)

19. Sharing the love.

Spliffs, Joints and Pot (1965)

20. Croydon, 1971: political protests redefined.

Inter-action in Croydon (1971)

Inter-action in Croydon (1971)

21. Barsham Faire, 1974.

Barsham Faire (1974)

Barsham Faire (1974)

22. Knebworth, 1976, year of the drought.

Knebworth Pop Festival (1976)

Knebworth Pop Festival (1976)

23. Festival vox pops.

Knebworth Pop Festival (1976)

24. Nothing unusual about pushing a van. Nothing unusual about wearing… oh wait…

Knebworth Pop Festival (1976)

25. A 1967 flower power interviewee.

Flower Power Interview (1967)

Flower Power Interview (1967)

26. The first Pyramid stage at Glastonbury, in 1972.

Glastonbury Festival and the First Pyramid Stage (1972)

Glastonbury Festival and the First Pyramid Stage (1972)

27. If you’re not on the bill, no problem. A piano, a field and an audience will do fine.

Glastonbury Festival and the First Pyramid Stage (1972)

28. Love – and something else – is in the air.

Glastonbury Festival and the First Pyramid Stage (1972)

29. A not-so-rare sighting of a half-naked festival-goer.

Glastonbury Festival and the First Pyramid Stage (1972)

30. A hippie commune living off the land on the otherwise uninhabited island of Dorinish, off County Mayo, in 1972.

Tribe of the Sun (1972)

Tribe of the Sun (1972)

31. They swap their guitars for shovels…

Tribe of the Sun (1972)

32. And wheelbarrows…

Tribe of the Sun (1972)

33. But, after the setting of the sun, and a day of communal graft, music again fills the air. 

Tribe of the Sun (1972)

The film and stills on this page are taken from Britain on Film, a digital archive of UK places that mean the world to you. 10,000 film and TV titles from 1895 to now will be digitised and can be watched for free on BFI Player.

Britain on Film is funded by the National Lottery funding and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

 

Barsham Faire and Knebworth Pop Festival are courtesy of East Anglian Film Archive

Flower Power Interview is courtesy of Media Archive for Central England

Glastonbury Festival and the First Pyramid Stage is courtesy of South West Film and Television Archive

Tribe of the Sun is courtesy of Yorkshire Film Archive

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