On a day when the Labour Party is in yet more trouble in the media, I thought it was time to hark back to what some may call simpler times. Others may simply call them less enlightened times
Whatever your view, this picture of Margate’s Miss Socialist is pretty shocking. Yes it was taken 50 years ago, but it reveals so much about the world of politics at that time. Trades unions were holding beauty shows. The Liberal Party also had one of their own in Thanet up into the 1970s.
I have not found any Conservative Party contests as yet. Whether that is because local Tories found the contests demeaning, common or simply beneath them will have to be left to speculation for now. But if you come across any or every took part in a political party beauty contest in the Margate area I would love to hear from you.
This picture from the local press shows Miss Julie Cannon, a 17-year-old student from Birchington, winning the contest at the annual Labour Party dinner and dance at Queen’s Hall. The ‘eight charming competitors’ were judged by local councillors and then local(ish) MP David Ennais. Miss Jenny Hamilton of St Peter’s and Miss Eva Van de Hurste of Margate were the runners up. Let me know if you know any of them.
I was pleased to have the chance to write an article about My Beauty for the Thanet Gazette last week. It has already paid dividends, with several beauty queens getting in touch after reading my call out for anyone who has taken part in beauty shows in Margate.
The article also detailed my first event, which will take place at Batchelors Patisserie at 246 Northdown Road, Cliftonville, from 1pm-4pm on Thursday the 9th of June. I’m offering free cakes and coffees for any beauty queens who come along. I wanted to use Batchelors as it is somewhere that still exists in Cliftonville from the area’s heyday. Hopefully some former-Miss Cliftonvilles will be enticed in.
So if you know any former-beauty queen contestants from any show in Margate (from the Lido contests to Miss Westbrook) who may like a bun or a doughnut, then do send them along. Or just come along and say hello and see how I am getting on with the project. It would be great to meet you.
I am seeking to collect memories, photographs and items such as programmes, judging cards and sashes. Everything will be returned and I can always visit people at home and pick items up. I’m also interested in hearing from judges, photographers, sponsors or promoters of shows.
More to come soon, including details of an event at Dreamland, Margate.
My Beauty is now live. I am seeking former beauty queen contestants from the hundreds that have taken place across Margate’s history. I am seeking to create a new exhibition and book from the photographs, memories and ephemera of those who took part in the shows, which peaked in the 1960s. Prizes could be life-changing (some enough to buy a house with) and the shows were a feature of the town, its press, its image of women and local pride.
Such a history has never been attempted before, leaving these contestants missed out of the history of a town that is on the rise once again. My aim is to correct that, looking at the fashions, attitudes, desires and culture of this important era in Margate’s history. Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org you were ever a contestant in a beauty show in Margate, Cliftonville, Westbrook or anywhere in the CT9 postcode, from your workplace to the Winter Gardens or Lido.