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B&FC researchers appealing for information about North West cotton queens

Published on 21/03/2017 by pfi

Blackpool and The Fylde College is appealing for help uncovering information about the 1930s Cotton Queen of Great Britain competition in the resort, involving young women competing from mill towns across the North West.

Staff and students carrying out research for an exhibition on Blackpool’s tourism heritage to help celebrate the College’s 125 -year history uncovered a picture of the cotton queens on parade, and are desperate to find out more about them.

They are appealing for information which will then be used as a major part of the exhibition. Marc Potter, HE Curriculum Manager in Leadership and Management at B&FC, said:

“As part of our 125-year celebrations, our curriculum area is looking at the history of tourism in Blackpool and we uncovered an image of the cotton queens, which made us want to know more about them.

“Further research found that in 1930, the most widely circulated regional newspaper in the country, the Manchester Daily Dispatch, launched a competition to find the first Cotton Queen of Great Britain, with candidates put forward by many of the mill towns in the North West.

“The idea of the cotton queen was carefully constructed to embody both the mill girl and the modern young working woman as a spokesperson for her industry, a fashion expert, and as a figurehead who could be deployed by advertisers to connect with consumers in Lancashire.

“We are looking for anyone with stories, photos, memorabilia or indeed anyone who had relatives who were involved in the cotton queen competitions as we believe this is a fascinating part of our history which may have gone forgotten.”

The exhibition has been curated by degree students in Tourism Management at B&FC, who have chosen specific examples of the resort’s relationship with the industry and highlighted them with academic research and images from the time.

The display will be presented to invited guests in April, with a public lecture being planned for later in the summer. Jo Kershaw, Head of Leadership and Management, added:

“Being from Rochdale and someone who remembers the old wakes week holidays of mill towns this is a project which is close to my heart.

“As a curriculum area, when we were looking at something we could do to celebrate our 125 year history we could think of no better area to focus on than Blackpool – and the College’s – relationship with the tourism industry.

“Our research has uncovered many excellent examples but few are as fascinating as the story of the cotton queens and we would be really grateful for any assistance which could help us find out more about them.”

B&FC offers more than 60 degrees in specialist technical and professional areas, including Tourism Management, accredited by Lancaster University.

Anyone with information about the cotton queens can contact Marc Potter on 01253 504563 or Marc.Potter@blackpool.ac.uk