Tensions had been rising for some time. The Rockers were usually in their 20s or 30s; Elvis-loving bikers rooted in 1950s Teddy Boy culture.
The teenage Mods’ culture, which flourished in the early 60s, was based on continental clothes, Italian Vespa and Lambretta scooters and the music of soul and jazz musicians.
They first clashed that spring on the March bank holiday in Clacton. At the Essex resort 97 people were arrested and the battle lines were drawn.
After that, trouble flared from Bournemouth to Margate, up to the bank holiday of August 1964. But Brighton’s Whitsun clash was the most notorious, thanks to sensational headlines and its immortalisation in Mod flick Quadrophenia.
Battles ran well into the night but although there were weapons – knives, chains and makeshift knuckle dusters – most scuffles involved fists and boots.
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