Miss Great Britain is a female beauty pageant. It is the oldest pageant in the UK, established in 1945.
Following World War Two, a number of seaside resorts around the country introduced beauty contests as attractions. The contest began in the Summer of 1945 under the name “Bathing Beauty Queen”, organised by the Morecambe Local Council in partnership with the ‘Sunday Dispatch’ newspaper. Morecambe went on to become the home of Miss Great Britain between 1956 and 1989.
The first ever Miss Great Britain final was watched by 4,300 people in a continuous downpour. The winner received a cup and according to the local newspaper ‘a paltry prize’ of seven guineas as well as a swimsuit. Prize money increased to £100 the following year, £500 the next and reached £1000 in the fifties due to its popularity. The contest continued to offer the largest prize fund of any competition run by a municipal authority.
The sixties saw the beginning of the decline in British seaside holidays with families increasingly able to afford trips abroad. A new competition format was needed and was realised with the introduction of television to Miss Great Britain in 1971. By 1978, the prize fund had increased to £10,000 thanks to the competition’s sponsors, and the popularity of the competition was again on the rise.
The contests were aimed at a family audience – men could enjoy watching pretty girls, women could have fun backing their favourites and young girls could aspire to be a bathing beauty when they grew up. For the girls who entered, there was the lure of cash prizes, and potential fame and fortune.
The Miss Great Pageant is owned by The Singhs. Miss Great Britain 2013 was organised by the new national director Kate Solomons, director of Leicester-based model & event agency ModelZed Promotions Ltd. Kate became the national director in November 2012 & has worked within the model industry for 10 years. One of Kate's first duties in her new role was to change the rules of the contest to allow both married women and mothers to enter the contest; this ruling had been revised in 2010 but had reverted under previous management. These rules currently stand for the 2014 contest. Miss Great Britain winner will go on to represent Great Britain as its Tourism Ambassador in Miss Tourism World.
The 2006 title holder was Preeti Desai who hailed from Cleveland. Desai made history when she became the first ever winner of Indian ethnicity when she replaced the dethroned Danielle Lloyd. Lloyd had lost the crown after stirring up scandals for posing nude for Playboy magazine and dating one of the judges during her participation in the pageant. Danielle Lloyd has been re-instated into the Wall of Fame/ Previous winners as of 11 January 2010.
Archives of Miss Great Britain are held at The Women's Library at the Library of the London School of Economics, ref 5MGB