Latest Roscoe celebrates 'Littlewoods Legacy'

Dr Ruth Doughty gives the latest Roscoe Lecture

200 individuals from across the Liverpool City Region attended the latest Roscoe Lecture at the Museum of Liverpool to hear about the legacy of Littlewoods.

The lecture delivered by LJMU’s Programme Leader for Film Studies, Dr Ruth Doughty, looked back on the world-famous retailer and football-pools business which employed 30,000 individuals at its peak, known as ‘Littlewoodies’, 95% of whom were women. 
Attendees listened to Ruth as she shared the stories of sisterhood and camaraderie from her interviews with former employers and how her work resulted in the public display.  

Did you know about Littlewoods? 

Ruth shared information and anecdotes about Littlewoods and the Moores brothers during her lecture. Did you know: 

  • Littlewoods was one of the first companies in the UK to start using computer technology 
  • Littlewoods repurposed all of their buildings to help with the World War 2 war effort and produced: 12 million shells, 5 million parachutes and 50,000 dinghies, amongst other vehicles and plane parts to help the British in the war
  • Those who worked for Littlewoods referred to themselves as ‘Littlewoodies’ 
  • Littlewoods was one of the best paying companies in Liverpool at the time 
  • The company was seen as ahead of its time, as in the 60s, Littlewoods began to look at diversity and inclusion within their workforce and implemented an ‘entry to business programme’ for local Black individuals in Liverpool 

Attendees were welcomed to the event by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark Power, who commended Dr Ruth Doughty on her outstanding work that has told the incredible story of Littlewoods.  

LJMU Honorary fellow and BBC Journalist, Ngunan Adamu also hosted the Q&A section of the event, and asked Ruth her favourite stories from interviewing the Littlewoodies over the past five year and the process of creating the archive. 

You can watch ‘The Littlewoods Legacy’ Roscoe Lecture here in full:

Find out more about the Roscoe Lecture series.

Littlewoods Heritage Project display 

The Roscoe event coincides with a public ‘Littlewoods Heritage Project’ display, curated by Ruth and 22 students who have undertaken internships on the project over the past five years. The display brings the incredible legacy of Littlewoods to life and is currently on show at the Museum of Liverpool until the end of June 2024. 

Littlewoods was an iconic brand founded by Sir John Moores and his brother Cecil. From the humble beginnings of the Football Pools in 1923, to the evolution of mail order catalogues and retail stores, Littlewoods became a household name and a national institution. 

Liverpool John Moores University is named in honour of Sir John Moores, a true visionary and shrewd successful businessman.  

About the Littlewoods Heritage Project Display  

The Littlewoods Heritage Project display is being showcased by National Museums Liverpool at the Museum of Liverpool until 30 June 2024.  

The display is founded in five years of research and interviews, as part of the Littlewoods Heritage Project and tells the stories of this workforce, with a strong focus on the social life of the factory and its legacy in the wider community. Their tales are told through reproductions of vintage photographs, coupons, promotional materials and other memorabilia. Find out more about the Littlewoods display. 



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