by Joan Boyce - £7.99 Writing on the Wall (2021)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781910580424 | ISBN 10: 1910580422
Littlewoods Pools Girls by Joan Boyce is based on interviews she conducted with many of the women who worked at Littlewoods.
For forty years until 1990s, Littlewoods Pools was one of the most famous brands in Britain. Millions played the Pools every week, filling in their coupon and returning it to Littlewoods. On Saturday afternoons, half the country would listen intently to the football scores on the radio to check if their coupon was a winner. The big winners were featured in newspaper headlines –and even TV plays. Processing the millions of coupons returned to Littlewoods needed a small army of checkers - women who worked behind the scenes but without whom there would have been no Pools.
This pamphlet is the story of the women that worked in ‘the pools’ in Liverpool. It gives the women a voice and allows them to tell their story in their own words. It is also the story of the company itself and the man, John Moors, who launched the Pools from a small office in Church Street in 1926 with just £150.
In Liverpool almost every woman either worked in the pools or had a mother, aunt or sister who worked there. The Pools provided regular stable employment for women in a city blighted by casual work and unemployment, where women’s work tended to be irregular, dirty, unsafe or demeaning.
Many studies and books about Littlewoods concentrate on the Moores Brothers, or the economic development and impact of the company on the wider economy. Joan Boyce has done a real service by giving a voice to the women themselves, allowing them in their own words to reflect on their working lives and the wider social events, circles and friendships they enjoyed within Littlewoods. Writing on the Wall are grateful that Joan chose us to bring her work to the wider public, and proud that they have been able to help Joan honour her promise to the women she interviewed that she would one day publish this book.
Time moves on, but it seems fitting that as the iconic Littlewoods building on Edge Lane comes back to life repurposed for film studios, that the voices of the women who worked there has been preserved by Joan for future generations. It is a vital addition to the history of Littlewoods, and most of all, a tribute to the women who worked there. Joan can be very proud that she has worked so hard to give them a voice.
(Price & availability last checked: April 2021)
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In booklists: Local Lives: Liverpool, Women in Liverpool, Merseyside and the North West, In categories: History & Biography, Local Interest, Feminism & Women,