My summer of love

FORTY years have passed since 1967's 'The Summer of Love'. Do you remember when everybody in Suffolk was walking around with flowers in their hair and men were wearing colourful old military uniforms like the Beatles on the Sgt Pepper Album cover? No, neither do I!Were you at any naked 'love in's' in Christchurch Park, where everybody was permanently high on new strange potions and chanting mystic mantras? If they ever took place I missed out on that too.

FORTY years have passed since 1967's 'The Summer of Love'.

Do you remember when everybody in Suffolk was walking around with flowers in their hair and men were wearing colourful old military uniforms like the Beatles on the Sgt Pepper Album cover?

No, neither do I!

Were you at any naked 'love in's' in Christchurch Park, where everybody was permanently high on new strange potions and chanting mystic mantras? If they ever took place I missed out on that too.

I celebrated my 21st birthday in '67 and have very fond memories of that summer. It was a time of great change. The grey years of the 1950s were behind us and there was great optimism in the air. Teenage culture and fashion with bright colours, replaced the simple utility fashions of the previous decade. I had friends who tried smoking things that 'took them to a better place' or claimed to have tried LSD, but most did not get beyond putting an aspirin in their bottle of Cola-to little effect!

There were often parties at somebody's parent's homes while they were away. About as psychedelic it got was when somebody would play with the controls on the black and white television to produce patterns on the screen in a darkened room while the Beatles Sgt Pepper album blared away on the record player.

Most Read

The town was deserted after the pubs closed at 10.30pm and most revellers would be on the last bus home. The place to gather was 'The Vaults' bar at the Golden Lion in the centre of town (It was near the bus stops!). This was where you found out where parties would be from those 'in the know'.

The word 'barbeque' was not familiar to us then, but a beach party at Nacton Shores or in the old Dooley Fort at Felixstowe would sometimes take place round a fire made from driftwood, but it was not exactly San Francisco!

So what was really happening around here that summer?

I had a look through the files at the Evening Star. We had some great live music. Bluesville brought legendary names to town through the 1960s. In July 1967 'PP' Arnold and The Nice were at the Manor Ballroom.

I saw The Nice at the Manor and at the Pier Pavilion in Felixstowe, wow they were loud! The bands keyboard player Keith Emerson went on to become part of rock giants Emerson Lake and Palmer. At the Felixstowe Pier Pavilion you could have seen The Fortunes. Tickets were on sale at the Music Centre in Queen Street, Ipswich for six shillings and sixpence. Pink Floyd were about to hit the big time when they played at the Stowmarket Carnival on July 15.

A typical Saturday evening's television had Juke Box Jury, The Munsters and The Black and White Minstrels on the BBC and Wrestling, Opportunity Knocks and The Golden Shot on Anglia. Both stations closed down around midnight.

The end of the pirate radio era came in August. Millions tuned in to Radio London as the station closed down at 3pm on August 13, hours before the law came into force to drive them off the air, although Radio Caroline defied the new law. The stations had around eight million listeners each. There were no licensed day time pop music stations on the air and only a suspect signal from Radio Luxemburg “Your Station of the Stars” in the evenings. Radio London was very influential.

The station 'obtained' a copy of the Beatles Sgt Pepper album on tape several weeks before the planned release date, rushed it from the offices in London to the ship off Frinton-On-Sea via a tender from Felixstowe Dock. They played it in full on the Ed Stewart programme that afternoon. The record company were not best pleased, but brought the release date forward to June 1 as a result. The BBC was not able to play the album in full because of 'needle time' restrictions. They banned the track 'A Day in the Life'; Radio London made it their final track when the station went off the air.

On Saturday July 22 the front page of the Evening Star carried a headline which every football fan would like to read today; “Town Out of the Red”.

The club secretary Wally Gray said that the club's overdraft of £41,000 had been 'wiped out'. Wages, salaries, player's benefits and transfer fees amounted to £77,475 compared to £64,168 the previous season, but on the revenue side, gate and other receipts increased from £77,120 to £109,224. For the opening game of the season against Middlesbrough Town manager Bill McGarry had Colin Viljoen lined up as outside right, while the injured Joe Broadfoot was substitute. Town won the match 2-0 with Crawford and Baker scoring the goals.

Other big price changes over the past 40 years are in housing and motoring.

A new semi detached three bedroom house in the west of Ipswich was on sale for £3,650. A second hand Ford Anglia from Bolton's Garage in Norwich Road was advertised for £440.

N

What are your memories of that summer 40 years ago? Write to Dave Kindred, Kindred Spirits, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN.

May 1 Elvis Presley married, Priscilla Beaulieu, at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.

May 10. The Road Safety Bill introducing compulsory breath tests became law.

May 10. In two separate incidents three members of the Rolling Stones were facing trials for drug use. After a raid on February 12 on guitarist Keith Richards's home in Sussex, Richards and singer Mick Jagger, appeared before Chichester magistrates. On the day of the court appearance of Jagger and Richards, guitarist Brian Jones was arrested at his Kensington apartment on drugs charges.

May 20. Tottenham beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final.

June 4. Two aircraft crashed killing British holidaymakers. The first a DC4 carrying eighty-three people to the Costa Brava crashed into the Pyrenees. The second a British Midland Airways Argonaut hit the ground four miles from Manchester killing seventy-eight people returning from Majorca.

June 5. The growing tensions between Israeli and Arab States erupted into all out war lasting six days.

July 1. BBC2 began regular colour broadcasts. The first seven hours was coverage of tennis from Wimbledon.

July 3. ITV launched a new half-hour news programme News at Ten.

August 2. The Dartford tunnel under the Thames opened.

August 27. Brian Epstein, the manager of the Beatles, was found dead in the locked bedroom of his home in Belgravia, London. He had taken an overdose of sleeping pills.

September 2. After being convicted of violating British broadcasting laws from a disused World War Two fort in the Thames estuary, Roy Bates moved his operation to the Roughs Tower seven miles off Harwich. No broadcasts were ever made, but Roy Bates proclaimed the tower to be the Principality of Sealand.

September 4. Seventeen ex-pirate broadcasters were given contracts by the BBC. On September 30 Radio One started broadcasting. Radio 2 replaced the Light programme, Radio 3 the Third and Radio 4 the Home Service.

September 20. The new Cunard liner the QE2 was launched by the Queen at Clydebank.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter