1976, the year that David Rostance took some of these fascinating photographs, is probably best remembered for the extraordinary heat wave and its accompanying drought. In January the first commercial Concorde flight took off at Heathrow and in the same winter month twelve Provisional IRA bombs exploded in the west end of London. In March Harold Wilson announced his resignation as Prime Minister which was to take effect the following month. Two days after the UK won the Eurovision Song Contest for the third time with the song “Save Your Kisses for Me”, sung by Brotherhood of Man, James Callaghan became the new Prime Minister. In October – the InterCity 125 high-speed train is introduced into passenger service on British Rail, initially between London Paddington station, Bristol and south Wales. 1976 was also the year that saw the beginnings of punk. In September that year, the 100 Club played host to the first punk festival and in October October The Damned released New Rose, the first single marketed as “punk rock”. At the end of the year in December, the Sex Pistols were encouraged to swear on Bill Grundy’s TV show which brought the band notoriety and the end of the host’s career.
London in 1977
In January 1977 the soon to become ubiquitous Ford Fiesta went on sale for the first time and the during the following month Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours was released. The same month the first Aardman Animations character, Morph, is introduced on BBC children’s television programme Take Hart. In March the Labour government revealed that inflation had increased prices up by almost 70% within three years. Not entirely unconnected the Conservatives started to make gains at local council elections, including winning the Greater London Council from Labour.
In September Marc Bolan, one of the pioneers of the glam rock movement at the start of the 1970s with T. Rex, died in a car crash in Barnes, London, two weeks before his thirtieth birthday. His girlfriend Gloria Jones, who was driving the car was seriously injured. Freddie Laker launched his new budget Skytrain airline, with the first single fare from Gatwick to New York City costing £59 compared to the normal price of £186. More than a million Londoners lined the streets to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. It was also the first year that you could take the tube to Heathrow and then fly to New York on Concorde — both the Piccadilly line extension and this coveted air route made their debut this year. On the 25 December, on the day that Charlie Chaplin died, The Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show on BBC 1 television attracted an audience of more than 28 million viewers, one of the highest ever in UK television history. Two days later Star Wars, which has been a massive hit in the United States, opened in British cinemas for the first time.
More of David Rostance’s fascinating photographs can be found on his Flickr site and are much recommended.
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