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Explore the Decades - 1980s

1980s Newspaper Gifts

The 1980s featured the launch of Microsoft Windows, the shooting of John Lennon, the marriage of Prince Charles to Diana and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The era was known as the ‘Me’ decade, as increased affluence led to obsession with appearance and status. Thatcher was in power and her reign was characterised by privatisation and economic reform. Britain was involved in the Falklands war, but the Cold War came to an end and communism collapsed. Whilst the West enjoyed economic improvement, the third world struggled with debt and widespread famine. This led to Live Aid in 1985.

Feminism made way for the gay rights movement and this was countered in the media by hysteria and negative stereotyping associated with AIDS. There was increased awareness of the dangers of smoking and concern about the environment. Sport featured boycotts, such as the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and the Hillsborough disaster lead to safer football stadiums. Music became increasingly diverse. The New Romantic era sprung from London clubs and quickly faded, whilst Michael Jackson became the King of Pop. CDs replaced vinyl and MTV was founded, increasing the importance of music videos. “Fame”, “Dirty Dancing” and “Flashdance” were huge movie hits and action films became the latest Hollywood craze.