Remember the eighties? Pictures show the youth culture of Britain

Remember the eighties? Incredible black and white photographs showcase the golden age of youth culture in Britain, featuring punks, skinheads and mods

  • New photozine Looking for Trouble showcases rare photos from the eighties 
  • Zine captures various sub-cultures including teds, punks and skinheads  
  • Photos were captured by photographer John Ingledew, using £80 Pentax
  • Said the photos showed attitudes of youth rebels that scared straight society 

Incredible pictures from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s have been published in a zine which harks back to a golden age of youth culture in Britain.

The images capture an array of overlapping sub-cultures, from rockabillies, teds and punks to ska fans, skinheads and mod revivals.

They were immortalised by photographer John Ingledew, and are available in the exclusive photo zine published by the Museum of Youth Culture.

The one-off zine, Looking for Trouble, showcases an array of snaps from the back streets of Soho, basement pool clubs and football terraces of that time. 

Chelsea skins: These two women, one called Donna, with their largely shaved blonde heads were pictured on a night out in 1980

Mullet man: Eccentric hairstyles were all the rage back in the eighties. This man was photographed at Bowie Night, The Music Machine, London in 1982

Hitting the beach: This gang of young skinheads, Punks and a Madness fan were pictured on Brighton beach in 1983. One wore a t-shirt emblazoned with Sid Vicious, the bassist of the punk band Sex Pistols

John said: ‘The publication is part of an on going series put out by the great people at the Museum of Youth Culture celebrating British youth culture.’

The photozine – which costs £10 – show gangs, couples and individuals, many of which are being published for the first time.

They also showcase the Bowie club nights in Soho, plus the Blitz crowd and the start of the Football Casuals and Perry Boys, with each group having their own very vibrant scene and styles. 

John said: ‘I think the attitude of many of the individuals seen in the pictures is really strong. 

‘Just look at the reaction of the young woman on seeing the CLASH fan approach.

‘You get that attitude from belonging to a gang and knowing you really look the part. 

‘Looking for Trouble is of course a line from an Elvis song. It’s a perfect title as this was the original youth rebel that scared straight society.’   

Talking about how society has changed since the eighties, John said: ‘I think it was an amazing time back then, a brief period when things seemed accelerated compared to today. 

Looking for trouble: These rockers were captured in Brighton 1982, many sporting leather jackets, some with skulls on 

Incredible photos of a unique time: This skinhead couple were captured in London’s Leicester Square, 1980 

‘Music went from Pub rock to Punk, to New Wave, to Tone Tone and then Mod-revival in about three summers.

‘There were a huge number of live music venues and going out was cheap. That’s gone lately, I’m afraid.’ 

He said he hoped youngsters today were enjoying their youth – like he and so many did in the eighties. 

He said: ‘I really hope there’s just as many young people having just as much a brilliant time today. 

‘Following a band or being part of a scene should be part of everyone’s teenage years.

Rockabillys – early fans of Rock and Roll – outside the pub next to the Kursaal Amusement Park, Bank Holiday Monday, Southend on Sea, 1983.

Open drug use: This photo, captured by John, shows someone allegedly glue sniffing in a pub in Crystal Palace, London 1982

‘There’s a few things I hope they’re not up to though, like glue sniffing seen in one of the pictures. I’m glad that craze is long forgotten.’ 

John also spoke of how he came to capture these people and events and become to be such a skilled photographer. 

After being offered a place at St Martine’s School of Art in 1978, the youngster, then 18, was amazed to receive a letter from his local council in Essex saying he was entitled to an equipment grant to help with his studies. 

With the £80, he then bought a Pentax camera with which all these photos were taken. 

He said: ‘People that know they have a great look love to be photographed. 

‘When people are looking at the camera I’ve always asked to take their picture and I can’t remember ever being refused. 

‘It was very different, cameras were quite rare then and being photographed I guess seemed a bit more special than today. 

‘When I went back to a club I always took prints to give to the people I’d photographed and became mates with some like Kev The Ted who I later shot at home with his Eddie Cochran LP.

Unseen footage: This photo captures West Ham Pringle Boys outside Upton Park football ground, 1983

A moment in time: The character, captured by John, is Kev The Ted at home in Teddington, 1982

The zine, Looking for Trouble, is published by the Museum of Youth Culture and can be purchased from the museum’s website 

‘I bump into him every now and again and saw him just the other day. I always looked like the scruffy Art Student I was and that look seemed to fit wherever I went.’

Reflecting on what’s changed in photography over the decades, John said: ‘Photography is great as it lets you keep little slivers of time forever. 

‘Pictures mature as times change – everyday things that looked so normal now seem unfamiliar. 

‘I wish I’d taken more pictures, I’d often only take one or two frames trying to get a good one as I’d only have a roll of 36 exposure film for the day. 

‘At least today’s digital photography has freed photographer selecting images from that.’

Looking for Trouble is not the first photozine the Museum of Youth Culture has published. 

It has previously done photozines covering Rave, Rap, Carnival and one called FOR LIFE with pictures of football fans taken over the last 40 years. 

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