Generation Change

Were the ‘90s better than the ‘00s? Were the Thatcher-themed ‘80s worse than the swinging ‘60s?

Take a trip back in time and discover whether you’d have had a little extra cash in your pocket, and see if you’d have preferred to live in a different decade.

of young people think that the older generations had an easier lifestyle back in their day.


The decade that put Mr Blobby on television – the 1990s was epitomised by a burst of British culture: Oasis and Blur were battling it out to be the kings of Britpop while Labour saw a huge increase in their popularity and Tony Blair became Prime Minister. But would you have been better off 20 years ago?

Average house price: £70,000

Average income:



The 1990s saw people going further, for less: cheap airlines easyJet and Ryanair established themselves, making it easier for holidaymakers to jump on a plane and go searching for the sun whenever they wanted.

The 1990s saw people going further, for less
Dating and Romance

There was no Facebook, not even MSN Messenger – the instant messaging service that allowed you to chat to your crush without actually having to speak to them. All teenagers had was a landline, as well as pen and paper.

People wrote love letters to their potential other halves, and if they really liked them, they’d make an awesome mixtape.

"they’d make an
awesome mixtape"

Battle of Britpop

Much to the Gallagher brothers’ dismay, Blur beat Oasis in the Battle of Britpop. Blur’s single Country House outsold Oasis’ Roll With It by some 58,000 sales – the Londoners taking the number one spot while Manchester’s Oasis took number two.


The 1980s was the decade where pop music took over the TV and sprouted into waves of hugely different cultural and social trends. All the while, Maggie Thatcher – love her or hate her – was guiding the country through not one, but two recessions. Surely that means we’re better off now, right?

Careers and housing

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1980's Esso Petrol Station
Shopping List for the 1980's

The legendary Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher’s political efforts divided the nation. Unemployment and poverty increased, and workers went on strike again and again as historic industries dwindled. However, Thatcher won two general elections in the ‘80s, leading the country for the entire decade.

"The legendary Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher’s political efforts divided the nation"

1980s Section Margaret Thatcher

After the youth riots that typified the late ‘70s, much effort was made to quell any repeat unrest. Youth employment was tackled with the introduction of NVQs and other schemes with the aim of giving young people the skills they needed to get into work.

1980's School
Stat of the Decade

Pop music was, by nature, popular, but it was the way people listened to it that conquered the decade. From LPs to cassettes, and then to CDs and even MTV; video really did try to kill the radio star.

"Video really did try to kill the radio star"

1980's Stat of Decade


While George Best was running riot on the football field, ordinary people were running riot in the streets. The manufacturing industry was dying – and fast. But on the upside, Ziggy Stardust was in the hearts of the nation. Would this be enough to make you wish you were there to take part?

Average house price £11,000
boy unboxing Fisher Price toy

Average income:


Service jobs like firemen and policemen were on the rise, as was the number of people working in business, while older industries like manufacturing began to die out.

One in seven 18-year-olds went to university in the seventies, and by the end of the decade, this figure fell to one in eight.

police car

The Brits were heading abroad, thanks to the introduction of low-cost package holidays. An all-inclusive holiday to the shores of Benidorm or Lloret De Mar was

£78 per person.

dating and romance

Average age of a UK mum

Back in the ‘70s, the average age of a UK mum was age 25, as most people got hitched in their early 20s.


Nowadays, the average age of a UK mum is 34,as the majority of couples decide to wait around nine more years to have kids.


Stat of the Decade
Decimal Day

The 15th February 1971 was the day the UK decimalised its currency. The shillings and florins were ditched, forever consigned to antique shops and coin collectors’ display cases.

1970's Decimal Day


Forget Blur and Oasis, the Beatles and the Stones were the original British bands polarising a nation. Peace and love were promoted over war and hate, and a pint of beer was just 8p – what wasn't there to love about the swinging ‘60s?

Careers and housing

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1960's Careers and housing

Years of working required to afford a house:

0.36 years


While America protested against involvement in Vietnam, Britain had political qualms of its own. The '60s saw people’s perceptions of politicians change drastically for the worse, thanks to the Profumo Affair – a provoking mix of scandal, spies, and government.

1960's politics
shopping list of the decade

No student loans

shopping list of the decade


of students attended a comprehensive.

A policy change in 1965 resulted in a huge transformation within education as Secondary Moderns began to be converted to the comprehensive schools we see today. By 1968 20% of students attended a comprehensive.

Stat of the decade

Manchester United season ticket was only:


A season ticket to watch Manchester United will cost up to £950 these days, but back in the '60s it was £8.50, which is about £50 less than it costs to watch a single match in 2016.

shopping list of the decade


The war was over and the good times were back. Elizabeth II was crowned Queen and millions tuned in to watch on a new-fangled invention – the television. And while the abundance of commercial aeroplanes allowed Brits to travel further, most settled for Butlin’s instead. Does the British seaside sound like a better destination than some of our modern-day favourites like South East Asia and the Caribbean?

1950's careers photo

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As the demand for televisions and radios increased, there was naturally also a demand for workers to build them. Office jobs were on the rise, and women often outnumbered men in this sector, as they were drafted in to be shorthand typists or secretaries to their male colleagues.

Average house price



Average annual days holiday:


With the 16 days’ holiday that workers were typically entitled to in the ‘50s, most families headed to the English seaside, namely the chalets of Butlin’s holiday camps.

Meanwhile, the countries of southern Europe were rebuilding their economies. They had sun, sand, and brand new hotels to entice the Brits who could afford it.

Dating and Romance

Dating etiquette for guys and girls in the 1950's

Dating Etiquette for Guys – according to Reader’s Digest

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to ask a girl out.
  • Don’t honk the car horn to announce your arrival; knock on the door.
  • Ask her parents when they want her home, and make sure she’s not late.
  • Help her with her coat – it’s polite to do so.
  • Open the car door for the woman – it proves you’re a real man.
  • Always walk between her and the curb.
  • Bring enough money to pay for the date.
  • No kissing – not on the first date at least.

Dating Etiquette for Girls – according to Reader’s Digest

  • Only floozies ask guys out.
  • When a man asks you out, giving an immediate answer is the polite response.
  • Only cancel a date if you really have to, and have a valid reason.
  • Be ready when your date arrives and don’t be ‘fashionably late’.
  • Be sure to introduce your date to your parents.
  • Don’t apply makeup in public.
  • At a restaurant, allow your date to order on your behalf.
  • Don’t try to pay for the meal, it’ll only be humiliating for the man.
1970's Decimal Day
Stat of the Decade

Thanks in large to the Queen’s Coronation being broadcast live, the number of homes with a TV licence rose from

763,000 in 1951 to 3.2 million in 1954.