The age of the badge … 1983


Before social media provided us with convenient ways of demonstrating our tastes to the world, we had badges.

Proof that we had a veritable barrage of badges to choose from comes from the York Community Bookshop badge list (PDF), recently rediscovered among various other yellowing papers from the 80s.

It dates, I believe, from 1983. Its front cover includes the slogan ‘This is the Age of the BADGE!’

York Community Bookshop, which is long gone, was at 73 Walmgate. In 1983 I was a frequent visitor, perusing the badges and CND literature, and buying a copy of The Female Eunuch.

The 8 page badge list is a reminder of the political, environmental and cultural concerns of the early 1980s.

Many witty and memorable slogans in those pages. Special mention has to go to the badge near the end of the list: ‘WEARING BADGES IS NOT ENOUGH’.

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  1. Andy Tuckwell

    Brilliant! I’m so pleased that you are preserving this living history. I remember the bookshop well – I think it must have opened in about 1977. As well as the radical stuff, it was a good place for poetry and an unpredictable choice of second hand books, which gave me the opportunity to feel that I was subsidising the right-on politics from time to time.

  2. YorkStories

    Glad you’ve found these! Good to hear that they mean something to others too. One or two definitely needed preserving digitally before the old faded print becomes totally unreadable.

  3. ANTHONY zurbrugg

    I produced some of these badges, and some of the handwriting on the front of that list, including the numbering – no. 5, is my own, so it must have been earlier, no later than 1981 I believe.

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