The Boots and Braces Cult – Five Press Photos of British Skinheads, 1970 [First Generation Skinhead]

The Boots and Braces Cult – Five Press Photos of British Skinheads, 1970 [First Generation Skinhead]


February 14, 1970 (captions) and February 23, 1970 (date stamps), a fifth image is from the same series but a different press agency (UPI New York) and dated February 28, 1970. Press photos, 25.2 by 20.5 cm. Very good with light edge wear, versos have date and agency stamps, and pasted-on captions that have caused light rippling to the images. Five images from a British photo essay on early skinheads, showing skins doing what they do: staring at their Docs, drinking beer and getting arrested. Thanks to the wonders of the interweb, we know the text of the original article: “THE 'BOOTS AND BRACES' CULT. LONDON. This is the ABC of the very latest youth cult that made its emergence in the last year of the Sixties... They call themselves – or have been dubbed – Skinheads. But being a Skinhead is more a way of life for the cult´s disciples than a title. The Skinheads are conspicuously present in today's society … easily identifiable with their closely shorn hair (not quite short in the winter months for obvious reasons), slimline braces and jeans that are rolled up to near mid-calf to proudly display their ‘Cherry Reds’, big, heavy boots, usually ‘decorated’ with horseshoe-shaped steel pieces in the toe... Adverse publicity, provoked by the violent antics of a tiny minority have given the Skinheads a speedy, but notorious, rise to fame. Stories of attacks on immigrants; on elderly citizens; of party gate-crashing; and of violence at major soccer games have been prominent in the British press of late. These reports have brought the cult into disrepute with the general public … and thus made them the scapegoats for teenage violence. Just like the Teddy Boys of the Fifties and the Mods (and Rockers) of the Sixties. They are thickest in London´s East End and south of the River [Thames]. Described as an offshoot from poorest working class England, a Skinhead's lifeline is a short term one. Few are younger than fifteen summers. And even less number are over nineteen. During this five-year-span, it´s likely they'll meet a ‘sort (Skinhead slang for girl). And the chances are that she too will be Skinhead – and sporting those braces, jeans, but no quite so heavy boots (just to maintain their femininity!) But even with the gear (clothes), before she is truly accepted into the camp she must familiarise herself with Skinhead talk. For example: A’s for Agro (Aggravation, which normally refers to trouble); B is for Bill (the Police); C for Cut Out (simply: ‘leave a place’) and many, many more. This set of pictures, taken by United Press International photographers Maurice Sayers, John Wilds Jr., John Eggitt and Roy Letkey, was made in London last week and illustrates the Skinhead mode... The youths featured in this set are in the majority of the cult's followers who do not believe in the violent feelings of the small faction that have brought the Skinheads notoriety. 14th February 1970.”23 The images have captions pasted to the verso and include: “A member of the cult runs a steel comb through his closely-shorn hair ……. one of the trademarks of a Skinhead.” “A group of Skinheads congregates at a London youth center. The lads enjoy taking it easy sipping their favorite drink, Pepsi Cola.” (From the UPI image, for the American market.) “A night out for a Skinhead invariably begins at a youth centre. Then for many of the older ones it’s a visit to the local ‘boozer’ (pub) for a drink …. The night’s entertainment is rounded off when each Skinhead group gathers at a certain street corner -- usually a meeting place for neighbouring Skinhead gangs.” “The Skinhead footwear ….. big, heavy boots. They are popularly referred to by followers of the cult as ‘Cherry Reds’ or ‘Doctor Martin’s’ which are American [no, they are not] and have air bubbles in the soles, soft leather on the top. But in the toe is usually a steel piece shaped like a horseshoe.” “Trouble on the soccer terraces and a typically-dressed Skinhead is forcibly removed from the ground of a top London soccer club. Incidents at these games have brought the cult into disrepute with the general public.” A nice set of early skin pics.

Title: The Boots and Braces Cult – Five Press Photos of British Skinheads, 1970 [First Generation Skinhead]

Author Name: Europix and Newspaper Enterprise Association

Categories: Music, Skinhead,

Publisher: London, Europix and Newspaper Enterprise Association: 1970

Binding: Photographs

Book Condition: Very Good

Item: 1.00

Seller ID: 2410

Keywords: Punk