In 1951, Britain was a country still reeling from the chaos of the Second World War. Despite taking over men's jobs during the war, traditional values and stereotypes were reinforced by the media e.g. still portraying women as housewives. Class was still easily identifiable through clothing; bowler hats compared to flat caps and the way they spoke. However, between 1951 and 1964, Britain went from a world power centered around a class dictated society to one of reduced world status but of increased domestic affluence. Public anger began to spill out onto the streets; many reasons have been suggested for this such as immigration, organised crime and social mobility.
The first migrant ship, Empire Windrush, carried 493 immigrants across from Kingston, Jamaica. A further 132,000 immigrants followed the decade after from across the New Commonwealth. The first wave of immigration was mainly young men, who flooded urban areas that were once dominated by the working class. Local governments spent millions on clearing pre-war slums and built new town on Greenfield sites such as Harlow in Essex and Kirkby in Merseyside. This broke up communities and caused tension when the new residents of inner city centres were immigrants; social tensions as well as overcrowded conditions was a causal factor in the racially motivated Notting Hill Riots in 1958, the violence seen in Notting Hill wasn't a random occurrence initiated by just a minority of the community. According to Tony Benn "The Notting Hill riots brought to national attention a problem that had been simmering for a long time. " However, the success of the Bristol Bus Boycott in 1963 showed that although there were some displays of social unrest there were also displays of social unity. Which shows that this period was not a period of whole social unrest. The boycott gained support from groups such as students from Bristol University and lasted 4 months.