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Twentieth Century


The 1960s represented a period of prosperity for many ordinary people in Dartford. Unemployment was very low and people's lifestyle took on a new dimension as society changed. Life was now based on consumerism, self-expression, permissiveness and participation. From the 1960s onwards the social world was turned upside-down as never before. The children of the post-war baby-boomers rejected tradition and the remains of Victorian puritanism and inhibition. Working-class young people in Dartford embraced pop music and fashion. Dartford Grammar School pupil Mick Jagger formed The Rolling Stones which rivalled The Beatles. The Rolling Stones had a strong image which was pro-youth, wild and anti-establishment. Dartford continued to thrive as new shops opened in the town, and new housing developments evolved.

Dartford police station
Click to enlarge

The 1970s were a period of mixed fortunes for the town as the world moved into a cycle of economic recession resulting in business failures, growing inflation, high unemployment, a general lowering of living standards and a decline in the quality of life established in the 1960s. Cuts in public spending under the Conservative government limited the amount of progress that Dartford Council could make to modernise the town. Instone Road was created, linking Highfield Road with Lowfield Street. A publication produced by the Dartford Conservative Association in 1970 commented "Dartford is an old town, once regarded with affection by those who live in it. But like all old towns except those fortunate to be attractions, rejuvenation is periodically necessary.

Fairfield pool
Click to enlarge

Of late, Dartford has not looked its best, but there is much afoot and it should once again be restored to its place as a modernised town of which we can all be proud". A new Post Office, Fire Station Police Station, Railway Station, Shopping Centre and Swimming Pool were built in the 1970s.

Next topic: Dartford in the 1980s and 1990s


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