Thatcher’s troops? Neighbourhood Watch Schemes and the search for ‘ordinary’ Thatcherism in 1980s Britain

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The spread of Neighbourhood Watch Schemes in Britain during the 1980s was remarkable, eventually amounting to 130,000 schemes covering more than 2.5 million households. Neighbourhood Watch’s signs, stickers, and high-profile television marketing campaigns made the threat of crime and the need for vigilance a highly visible part of everyday experience across 1980s Britain which can still be seen thirty years later. This article examines the values embodied and transmitted by such initiatives and assesses the anxieties and aspirations of schemes’ memberships and those reacting to the schemes assessing the extent to which they were manifestation of an ‘ordinary’ form of Thatcherism


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-255
JournalContemporary British History
Issue number2
Early online date20 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017