Glam rock, hot pants and TV gems. We love the 70s reveal Oxfordshire's great and good

Ian Hudspeth was a big fan of ACDC

A young Ian Hudspeth

Ian Hudspeth as he is today

Helen O’Hara with a trophy for Irish dancing in the 1970s

Helen as a councillor today

Susanna Pressel

First published in News by

DAVID Bowie, Marc Bolan, Queen and the Sex Pistols were some of the biggest names in the 1970s.

And while many male teenagers publicly pledged their allegiance to hard rock giants of the era, they had their own dirty secrets, according to county council leader Ian Hudspeth.

Mr Hudspeth, now 52, said: “The 70s was a fantastic time to be growing up, with glam rock and heavy metal alongside the early boy bands.

“Of course boys were not allowed to show any interest in those groups as we followed AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. However I’m sure like many other boys of the era, my guilty secret was liking the style and tunes of the Bay City Rollers.

“I can finally come out of the closet!”

Punk music was another genre which came to fruition at the end of the 70s with the emergence of the Sex Pistols and their infamous song God Save The Queen.

But the sounds of the 70s seems to have enjoyed a revival, with Rod Stewart’s album Time, Black Sabbath’s 13 and the Eagles’ Greatest Hits all making a recent appearance in the top 40 chart.

As much as it shaped music tastes, the 70s had a big impact in terms of politics.

Under Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath, Britain got the breakthrough it wanted after being accepted into the European Economic Community in 1973.

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Throughout the decade, Britain hopped between Tory and Labour control, until Margaret Thatcher won her first victory in 1979.

But the decade was also marred by spells of industrial action and the three-day working week which was introduced by Heath to conserve coal and electricity supplies, after strikes by workers.

Mr Hudspeth said: “It was a time of clear political divide between the Conservatives and Labour Party and it formed my early political alliance.

“The strikes and constant disruption meant we had to find a way forward as the country was going down the tubes, with the then Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan returning from the Bahamas asking: “Crisis, what crisis?”

It was in the 70s that Mr Hudspeth first fell in love with the city of Oxford. He said: “I came by train to the old Oxford station with my first love. We enjoyed the day including punting on the river.

“Little did I know that in 40 years I would be leader of the fantastic county that is Oxfordshire.”

Top times for some classic television

tHE 70s was also a successful period for TV, with many stars of the UK making a name for themselves on the small screen.
In 1971, the first episode of The Generation Game, hosted by Bruce Forsyth, was aired, and after its launch in the 60s, Mr and Mrs, hosted by Alan Taylor and Derek Batey, continued to entertain viewers.
The popular show Are You Being Served?, which was set in a department store, burst onto the scene in 1972, and 1974 saw the introduction of Porridge, the prison sitcom that cemented Ronnie Barker’s place in the TV hall of fame.
But arguably the biggest sitcom to grace our TV screens in the 70s was Fawlty Towers which introduced us to Basil Fawlty, the hotel owner from hell, played by John Cleese.
Labour councillor Susanna Pressel also recalls her time in the 70s.
She said: "I was living in Zambia with my husband, and our two children were born there. I had a great time teaching at two schools and at the University of Zambia.
“When we finally came back to Oxford in 1976, I remember struggling to cope with the British decimal currency, which was new to me, though everyone else had had time to get used to it in our absence.
“I also remember how we all enjoyed watching Top of the Pops every week. There were some brilliant groups, including The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and Pan's People."
She added: “I remember Faulty Towers and The Good Life. There was also That Was The Week That Was, which was a brilliant satirical programme.”

Dancing to an Irish Lilt

ONE of Labour councillor Helen O’Hara’s favourite past-times in the 1970s was Irish dancing.
She said: “I was so proud of winning the trophy at the ‘Feis’ in St Dominic’s Club, as I’d seen other girls do in previous years.
“When I look back I realise that everyone came away with prizes. It was arranged that way.
“Children now are in a more competitive world.
“Post Riverdance, dresses are more ornate and highly coloured. Often girls wear wigs, which was unheard of in the 70s.”

Fashioning a new look

THE 70s marked a controversial time for fashion, with women rebelling against years of oppression, with the introduction of mini skirts, hot pants and maxi dresses, and more feminine approaches such as platform soles and flared trousers – most of what you’ve seen recently in High Street stores.
The bigger the better was the key message in homage to John Travolta, the star of Saturday Night Fever.
Lenie Boya, owner of Lenie’s Revival Boutique Dress Agency, describes how fashion seems to come back round into vogue.
She said: “I have been designing dresses since I was seven and being a child in the 1970s means that the fashions and trends of that decade would have had an effect on my designs. I have followed fashion throughout its development and I enjoy keeping up with current trends.
“It is interesting to see how some trends from the 1970s are repeated, but each time with new added ideas, and others transform into completely new trends. When designing the dresses for Miss Oxfordshire and Miss England finals 2013, I looked back at past trends to see what ideas could inspire me and the end result was some stunning, timeless dresses.
“Being involved in a beauty pageant showed me how much the focus of them had changed.
“In the 1970s they were purely based on a look that was considered attractive at the time, but now there is more of a focus on the contestant’s personality, intelligence and skills.
“The beauty pageants allowed me to be creative with my fashion ideas and they also showed me how much fashion has changed since I started making dresses in the 70s.”

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