'50s Teds. Photo: Newspapers/ Rex USA
Teds of the ’50s surround a jukebox. Associated Newspapers / Rex / Rex USA

“The Teddy Boy look” began in 1950’s England when young men wore clothing inspired by the dandies of the Edwardian era. They were originally named “Cosh boys” until the Daily Express shortened ‘Edwardian’ to ‘Teddy’ for a headline in 1953, changing history. Saville Row tailors encouraged the trend by making the 40’s Zoot suit drape jackets with velvet collars and pockets. They also fashioned the drainpipe pants which Teddy boys often wore— the leg hem always a bit too high to better expose their socks. Hair was combed back on the sides with a molded quiff in the front. The British shoes, Creepers,  actually came out of Teddy Boy culture, as “Creeper” was another nickname due to a slow shuffle dance they vibed out to called ‘The Creep.’

Teddy Girls wore drape jackets, pencil skirts, flat shoes, tailored jackets with velvet collars, cameo brooches, espadrilles, and coolie hats. They were also the first teenage girls to rock jeans. They often made their own clothes, as they couldn’t afford (and probably didn’t like) department store clothes.

Record players were spinning jazz until 1955, when rock and roll, became the preferred choice of Teddy Boys.  Unfortunately, some Teddy’s started gangs, attacking rival gangs, and in one historic incident, they attacked a West Indian community. Pick up the pulp novel Teddy Boy by Ernest Ryman, to learn more …

– Amy Haben


Teds in 1956 by Roger Mayne.
Very young Teddy Boys. Photo: Roger Mayne – 1956


Teddy Boys at the fairgrounds in 1955.
Teddy Boys. Associated Newspapers / Rex / Rex USA
Teddy Boys in posh suits.
Teddy Boys in some very posh suits. Juliette Lasserre/Stringer / Getty Images
A couple of the boys from the previous photo posing with their mate.
A couple of the boys from the previous photo posing with their mate. Juliette Lasserre/Stringer / Getty Images


'50s Teds.Photo: Keystone/Stringer/Getty
Smoking Teds in the ’50s. Photo: Keystone/Stringer/Getty Images
Teds dancing. Photo: Associated Newspapers/ Rex/ Rex USA
Young Teds dancing in the street. Photo: Associated Newspapers/ Rex/ Rex USA
“We weren’t bad girls. We were all right. We got slung out of the picture house for jiving up the aisles once, but we never broke the law. We weren’t drinkers. We’d go to milk bars, have a peach melba and nod to the music, but you weren’t allowed to dance. It was just showing off: ‘Look at us!’ We called the police ‘the bluebottles’ – you’d see them come round in a Black Maria to catch people playing dice on the corner. But we’d just sit on each other’s doorsteps and play music.” – Rose Shine (Teddy girl)
Judies by Ken Russell.
1956 Batter Sea Fun Fair Teddy Girls by Ken Russell.

Teddy girls were known as, “Judies.”

Teddy Girl, Rose Price smoking.
18 year old Teddy Girl, Rose Price (above and below) from Tottenham, ‘lights up’ for her boyfriend.
Rose Price and fellow Teddy girl smoking.
Teddy Girls lighting up. By: Ken Russell.

No one paid much attention to the Teddy Girls before I did them, though there was plenty on Teddy Boys. They were tough, these kids, they’d been born in the war years and food rationing only ended in about 1954 – a year before I took these pictures. They were proud. They knew their worth. They just wore what they wore.”  -Ken Russell (One of the few photographers who took pictures of the Teddy Girls in Notting Hill in 1955.)

Long before Ken Russell directed the Who’s rock-opera, Tommy, he compiled a photo book of the East End Teddy Girls named, The Last Of The Teddy Girls.

British Teddy Girl.
Teddy Girl. By: Ken Russell.
Teddy Girls. Photo: Ken Russell
Elsie Hendon 15, Jean Rayner 14, Rosie Hendon 15 and Mary Toovey on a bombsite in Southam Street, North Kensington. Photo: Ken Russell
Teddy Girls by Ken Russell.
Teddy Girls playing tough . Photo: Ken Russell
Teddy Girl surrounded by Teddy Boys.
Smoking in the boy’s room. Teddy Girl surrounded by Teddy Boys. Photo: Ken Russell.
Some of the more feminine looking Teddy Girls.
Some of the more feminine looking Teddy Girls. Photo: Ken Russell.
Bad girls smoking.
Bad girls smoking. John Twine / Daily Mail / Rex / Rex USA
Rocker girls.
Tough rocker gals! The Teds and Rockers famously rivaled. Keystone Features/Stringer / Getty Images
Teddy girls.
Teddy Girls. Photo: Ken Russell

In the mid-seventies, a resurgence of Teddy boy fashion sprung up with a dirtier edge– almost like a bloated, drunken Jim Morrison had been thrown into the mix. Rockabilly slid into the melting pot of Teddy style as greasy side burns were worn with pompadours, and shiny satin shirts were worn with bootlace ties and big belt buckles. Check out some examples below…

'70s Teddy boy, Ron Staples-Fahey.
King of Central London’s 70’s Teddy Boys, Ron Staples-Fahey.
Sunglasses Ron and friends outside The Black Raven.
Thomas (Gino) Charalambous, Steve Golly, Ron Staples-Fahey “Sunglasses Ron,” Norman Mascot, Rob and Del outside the Black Raven in Bishopgate in 1976.
Teddy Boys, 1976.
Teddy Boys, 1976. © Chris Steele-Perkins/Magnum Photos


Teddy Boys on Kings Road, Chelsea.
King’s Road Teds in 1978, Chelsea.