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The original 1966 Barclaycard is one of the most important artefacts in the Barclays archive – and it’s currently on display at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) as part of an exhibition dedicated to the Swinging Sixties.

The V&A show – titled ‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970’ – tracks the huge, era-defining social upheaval that centred on Swinging London.

Alongside the iconic figures of fashion and popular culture that feature in the exhibition – from The Beatles and Mary Quant to Ken Kesey and Twiggy – are some seemingly everyday objects, including the very first Barclaycard.

While a credit card might seem an unlikely inclusion in a celebration of 1960s counterculture, Barclaycard could claim to be both innovative and revolutionary (as these ad campaigns show).

As Maria Sienkiewicz, Barclays Group Archivist, says: “Our original 1966 Barclaycard is one of our smallest yet most important artefacts. Its launch as the UK’s first credit card marked a turning point in financial services provision, prompted a transformation in the spending habits of the nation, and saw a huge shift in style for bank advertising.”

You’ll have to be quick if you want to catch the V&A show, which runs until 26 February before going on tour to North America and Europe. 

Learn more about the exhibitionLearn more about the exhibitions (new window) Find out more about our Group ArchiveFind out more about our Group Archive (new window)
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