After the trauma of the Blitz and wartime restrictions, London embraced the arrival of a new decade. Austerity was slow to loosen its grip, but the Festival of Britain pointed a tentative way forward. Two years later saw the birth of a new Elizabethan era that was greeted with an almost naive enthusiasm. This was a time where class still dominated and divided. Despite the introduction of the welfare state, grinding poverty still existed. The rich were also suffering under a barrage of punitive taxation. The artistic community set out to challenge the bounds of perceived decency. As always, London spearheaded change. Twin sets and pearls gave way to a new elegance in women's fashion, whilst young men ditched their cloth caps in favour of Teddy Boy suits. A new teenage culture arrived along with coffee bars and rock 'n' roll. To a background of grisly murders and organised crime, often shrouded in fog, London lurched into the unknown. It was loud, brash, yet also sophisticated, but chaotic. It set the agenda for others to follow. A city of opportunity and dangerous temptation. Huge success and degrading humiliation, of passing interest only as the world's greatest city hurled itself restlessly forward seeking its next distraction.