Capital Affairs

London and the Making of the Permissive Society
Mort, Frank
Date published: 
May 2010

Did Britain's permissive society start with swinging London? This exciting new account of 1950s London challenges the sexual myth of the 1960s, arguing that its roots lay further back in the city's dramatic cultures of austerity and affluence that marked the post-war years. A series of spectacular scandals profoundly disturbed London life during the 1950s in ways that had major national consequences. These transgressive events centred on the collision between high and low society that characterized London as a city of social and sexual extremes. Patrician men-about-town, young independent women, go-ahead entrepreneurs, Westminster politicians, queer men and West-Indian newcomers were centre stage in a series of dramatic encounters that opened up a new phase of post-Victorian sexual morality.