The Fifty-Nine Club & Why It’s More Than Just A Haircut

Most, if not all of us reading this blog post understand that a hairstyle is more than a way to keep the hairs on your head out of your eyes and off your ears: the way a man wears his hair is part of who he is, his attitude, and how he presents himself to the world — it is a means to feel at home in his own skin and maybe even show “who’s side he’s on.”

Post-War Biker Gangs & All Out Rebellion

One of the greatest examples of the importance of personal style is the motorcycle clubs of post-war England. The Ton-Up Boys, also known as Rockers and Leather Boys, could be easily spotted. They not only could be seen testing the speed of their cafe-racer bikes — doing “the ton” or going over a hundred miles per hour — but also by their style. Decked out in motorcycle jackets trimmed with pins and metal studs, engineer boots, and a pompadour, the Ton-Up Boys were unique and to some, a societal anathema. They were a symbol of rebellion and the heroes of the outcasts.  

The Ton-Up Boys were often seen hanging out with The Fifty-Nine Club, another group that was forming a subculture of motorcycle grease-wielding, leather-jacket wearing outcasts.

The Fifty-Nine Club

Contrary to what you would assume, The Fifty-Nine Club was founded as a part of the Church of England at St. Mary of Eton church in Hackney Wick. Founded by Reverend John Oates, the club was to give those less welcome at local youth groups a place to hangout together. Youth groups of the time required their members to attend church and those who didn’t often didn’t have a place to congregate. Oaks wanted to change all of that and provide a place for those who didn’t want to conform. The club opened on April 2, 1959 with teen-star Cliff Richard’s performance — needless to say it was an all out success.  

Folk Devils

In 1962, Eton Mission became the place for The Fifty-Nine Club’s motorcycle section to meet and enjoy table tennis, billiards, a jukebox, and coffee bar. Like the other motorcycle groups of the time, they were seen as counter cultural heroes, a part of the British rocker subculture and labeled by “God-fearing” citizens as “folk devils” — a part of the moral panic of the 1960s. Folk devils, despite its condescending origin, became a badge of honor like the patches that members worn on their motorcycle jackets.

Unlike the American biker gangs who became deeply involved in the criminal underbelly, The Fifty-Nine Club to this day had never been about the life of crime but of what originally brought them together — a group for those looking for like-minded counter-cultural people and those that loved to ride.

Though there was something deeper that made The Fifty-Nine Club and Ton-Up Boys what they and other motorcycle clubs were and still are today, it was their style that set them apart. Chopperhead is dedicated to the men like these who value their style and masculine look, and want to create an appearance that emanates their passions.

We Pay Homage To the Rebels That Came Before

Whether you want to create a pompadour reminiscent of the Ton-Up Boys style or achieve a modern slicked-back look, Chopperhead provides products made specifically for these styles that also nourish your hair. Shop all of our products online!