• Kate Smith

"The Loathesomenesse of Long Haire"

Updated: Jan 14, 2018

A good 300 years before the 1960s, young men were growing their hair long as a sign of fashion and rebellion and their elders were trying to stop them because it blurred the line between the sexes. Thomas Hall's 1654 tract The Loathesomenesse of Long Haire was devoted to deploring this tendency as 'a most loathsome and horrible disease...unheard of in former times'.

These days arguments about style tend not to end up in court, but in 16th century Newcastle a bunch of 'disobedient and very obstinate' apprentices were 'made exemplary by shortning their hayre... and afterwards for their wilful obstinacy committed to prison'.

By the 60s and 70s long hair for men was back in fashion. This picture by Henry Grant was taken at the Hyde Park Festival in 1970. It is now held in an archive at the Museum of London.

Extract from a Youth Map of London - covering the lives of young people in London from pre-history to modern times. As well as covering collections in the Museum of London, it encouraged readers to explore collections across many smaller and often local London museums.

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