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Construction of the Berlin Wall / Photo, c.1961
Berlin, Germany
Construction of the Berlin Wall, star of building work on August 1961.

West Berliners at the sector border, corner of Stallschreiber and Alexandrinenstrasse...
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The 1960s in colour
Last year’s newsletters focused on vintage black & white photography, from shots of glamorous women to snaps of mystery men. This year, we have shifted our attention to colour and we are exploring original colour photographs and digitally colourised creations decade by decade.

This month we take a look at the 1960s, a decade marked by incredible technological progress, social turbulence, and two historical events that were to define the world for years to come: The Vietnam War and the erection of the Berlin Wall.

The slogan “Flower Power” came to symbolise a whole generation’s call for non-violence in the face of conflict in Vietnam, an ethos also reflected in the peaceful protests of the American Civil Rights movement. This pacifist idealism of America’s youth was to be shaken by the assassinations of two great icons, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

Meanwhile, the Space Race between the USA and the Soviet Union saw man launch into outer space and walk across the surface of the moon. From earth, more than half a billion people watched on their television sets as Neil Armstrong proclaimed his now famous words: “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.

Nowhere could the tensions between East and West, Communism and Capitalism, be observed more poignantly than in Berlin, a city finding itself divided at the epicentre of the Cold War.

Interested in having one of our black & white images colourised for your own project? Contact our research team to find out more about our free colourisation service.

Like these images? Journey further back in time decade by decade with these selections of colour photographs from the archive.