What makes a TEDDY BOY?

An article from the Glasgow EVENING TIMES Monday January 7th 1954.

What makes a TEDDY BOY?

PHOTOGRAPH to follow. 

Double-breasted rig out

Suit-9 guineas

Drape jacket (double-breasted with short lapels.  Diamond cut jacket collar).

Woolen cardigan.

White and grey tie.

Drainpipe trousers, tapering from 19in to15in

Billy Eckstine Shirt-25s 6d.

Buckled shoes 49s 6d.


PHOTOGRAPH to follow. 

Velvet lapels and cuffs

Suit-14 guineas

Single-breasted with link button.

Flap-top pockets.

Velvet collar and cuffs

Billy Eckstine Shirt

Slim Jim tie – black with white stripe.

Signet Ring

Buckled Shoes


What makes a TEDDY BOY?


He was walking down Bridge Street – a solitary figure, a fashionable figure, a figure of criticism, of fun, of ministerial moralisings, and public misgivings. He was discussed, maligned, questionable representative of modern youth – THE TEDDY BOY.

It was Sunday. It was raining. Bridge Street – all respect to it – was scarcely the setting for a cheerful Sabbath promenade. This youth, one felt, deserved something more spacious, more dignified, more befitting his Edwardian gallantry and style.

He entered a cafe. Four of his comrades were seated at a marble-topped table. They were drinking milk shakes.  He drew up a chair, exchanged greetings, then crossed over to the Juke Box.

Two girls came into the cafe.  They glanced sidelong at the seated group. One lad jumped to his feet. “Hold me back!” he cried. The others good – humouredly obliged.

More talk, more milk shakes, more music.

So passed the afternoon.  A harmless afternoon.  To those rock ‘n’ rolling milk shakers – as to how many others – the cafe was a meeting place, a club.

Who comprised this cafe congregation? Working lads, each one of them – plumber, factory hand, woodworker, mechanic.



THE Cafe session over, it was time to go home for a meal. And after that, it was time for the girls.

Dance clubs provide the feminine company – and the jive. Are they trouble spots? Is it in these places that the Teddy Boy becomes a social menace?

What virtues or failings a Teddy Boy may have, he certainly cannot be accused of lack of energy.

It is not only the Teddies who belong to such clubs. Membership, running up to the 300 mark, includes folk of all varieties ranging from 16 to the early twenties.

I have taken Sunday as a specimen day in the life of a Teddy Boy because, for many, it is danger day.

Recognising it as such is at least one Glasgow Minister – the Rev. Ian Davidson, of Cowlairs Parish Church. To get lads off the streets, to combat the menace of gangs, he instituted a Teddy Boy (and girl) club. Lacking suitable premises, he had to close it down. But he is still emphatic about the need for such a centre.

Here is a chance – and I don’t say it lightly – for some philanthropist.

“Give me the premises, equipment for recreation, and a honk-tonk piano,” says Mr Davidson, and if you feel that this is a un-ministerial answer to a social problem a few minutes in his company will convince you otherwise.

“These lads are living in a vacuum” says Mr Davidson told me. “When they leave school there is often a gap in their lives. A dangerous gap. It must be filled. In 5 years, 10 years, they will marry, settle down, have children of their own. Then the Church may well mean something to them. In the meantime we must do something for them.”

More and more younger people are going to Mr Davidson’s Church.

What makes a Teddy Boy? One can’t answer that question without cutting through fashionable prejudices. The sight of a lad dressed in a velvet-collared jacket and drainpipe trousers rouses in many violent revulsion of feeling. But there are, as we shall see, Teddy Boys and Teddy Boys – and judgement should be reserved.