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Ken Russell's 1955 Photo Essay on London's Teddy Girls

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TG1

Grace Living, 17 year old from Plaistow in an East End café. Russell also took an entire set of photos entitled Coffee Shop Girls





 

TG2

17 year old Josie Buchan was a fashion student with Russell’s future wife, Shirley, at the college Russell also attended. Josie introduced Ken to her Teddy Girl friends. Here she shows off a thin black velvet tie and D.A haircut. It would have been incredibly rare to find a woman sporting this type of men’s hairstyle back then.
TG3

17 year old Josie Buchan was a fashion student with Russell’s future wife, Shirley, at the college Russell also attended. Josie introduced Ken to her Teddy Girl friends. Here she shows off a thin black velvet tie and D.A haircut. It would have been incredibly rare to find a woman sporting this type of men’s hairstyle back then.
 

TG4

17 year old Josie Buchan was a fashion student with Russell’s future wife, Shirley, at the college Russell also attended. Josie introduced Ken to her Teddy Girl friends. Here she shows off a thin black velvet tie and D.A haircut. It would have been incredibly rare to find a woman sporting this type of men’s hairstyle back then.

TG5

18 year old Rose Price, a shop assistant from Tottenham; also sporting a markedly ‘manly’ hair-style. Available as Art Card.

TG6

Vera Harrison, aged 19, a recent migrant from Ireland. Vera worked in the kitchens at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. The stencilled graffiti was part of a campaign to reintegrate returning servicemen into society.

 

TG7

Iris Thornton and Pat Wiles, 17 year olds from Plaistow, show off lace-up espadrilles which were favourites with Teddy Girls.

TG8

Rose Price and admirers. Note matching polka-dot clutch bag and gloves - defining Teddy Girl accoutrements.
 

TG9

16 year old Eileen from Bethnal Green. Eileen worked in the clerical office of a big provisions firm. Two Teddy Boys duel over her on East End bombsite. Available as Art Card.

 

TG10

The original Pictorial Press caption says it all – ‘14 year old Jean Rayner is still in the exploratory stage of Teddyism. One day she hopes to emulate her elegant seniors, but maybe Teddyism will have died out completely by then.’ Available as Art Card.

TG11

Rose Price talks to friends who are protecting newly done hair in headscarves. This ‘turban’ style was popular with Teddy Girls.

TG12

Josie Buchan at the Stage Door of the Walthamstow Palace Theatre which was pulled down in 1960.
 

TG13

Iris Thornton of Plaistow in front of a comic stall. The original caption makes disparaging remarks about Teds not being able to read very well… Available as Art Card.

TG14

Pat Wiles and Iris Thornton both worked on the assembly line of a toy factory. Coolie hats were another popular element of Teddy Girl style. Available as Art Card.

TG15

Elsie Hendon, 15, Jean Rayner, 14, Rosie Hendon, 15, and Mary Toovey on a bombsite in Southam Street, North Kensington, West London. Elsie and Rosie are twins. A cropped version of this photo appeared, appropriately enough, on the cover of The Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin’s single, Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves… Available as Art Card.

TG16

Elsie Hendon, 15 and Jean Rayner, 14 in front of the Seven Feathers Club in Edenham Street, North Kensington.
 

TG17

18 year old Barbara Wood of Plaistow models her boater and embroidered blouse through a paneless window in a bomb-shattered, East London building. Available as Art Card.

TG18

Two unnamed Teddy Boys photographed at a funfair. This photo is one of only two taken of Teddy Boys on this shoot. Available as Art Card.
 

TG19

Pat Wiles and Iris Thornton chilling under a railway bridge.
 

TG20

Iris Thornton, 17 poses in the backyard of block of flats near where she lives in Plaistow.

TG21

Rose Price, predating James Dean’s ‘Rebel…’
 

TG22

Pat Wiles and Iris Thornton: attitude in spades, and matching clutch bags.
 

TG23

Grace Living poses with Perspex handled umbrella outside East London café. An umbrella was a regular Teddy Girl signifier… Available as Art Card.

TG24

Elsie and Rose Hendon with Mary Toovey and Jean Rayner outside the Seven Feathers Club, where Rosie remembers doing the popular Ted dance, The Creep.
 

TG25

Rose Hendon and Mary Toovey pose with unknown young Teddy Boys in Southam Street. Rosie would leave school this year to go and work in a McVities biscuit factory.

TG26

Iris Thornton and Pat Wiles shop for lino.

TG27

Pat Wiles poses with ubiquitous umbrella aloft.
 

TG28

Barbara Wood , pointing to a council election poster for Ordnance Ward in Poplar, East London.

TG29

Vera Harrison. Note her cameo brooch, another neo-Edwardian favourite. Available as Art Card.
 

TG30

Eileen, with the victor of the duel. The original caption reckoned that she must be sheltering under his umbrella as Teddy Girls never unfurled theirs