The sixties were a transformative decade for London. The capital was anointed in April 1966 as “The Swinging City” by Time magazine, with London being seen as a thriving hub for art, music, and fashion.
Many icons of the sixties became a part of the fabric of Britain, from the Beatles to Mary Quant. London went from a conservative post-war city to a bustling place of possibility, driven by an economic boom and a growing young population. The creation of the pill and the abolition of national service also helped young people feel more in control of their choices and future.
And capturing this pivotal decade was New Zealand photographer Derek Brook, who moved London in the early-1960s.
From unseen photographs of the Beatles, to snaps of Carnaby Street, his photography archive paints a vivid picture of the Swinging Sixties, and how London evolved during this decade.
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The sixties was not just the decade of music and fashion, but also when young people stood up for change and used their political voices. Alongside his photos of musical icons and high street fashion, Derek Brook captured CND Aldermaston Marches, the Grosvenor Square March, and the Notting Hill Housing Demonstration.
Want to discover more about our photographic collections?
We’re thrilled to hold Derek Brook’s Archive as part of our Photography Collections. Since we opened in 1895, we have been home to incredible photographs of London, including of protests in the city. Our Library now holds over 1,000,000 images, with the photographs recording the social and cultural history of the metropolis.