Record

Reference Number (Click this to reveal full catalogue structure)LW
TitleLittlewoods Digital Archive
Datec1930
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PRSFM 2020.2.174.jpg

Extent9
DescriptionLittlewoods was an iconic British brand created by Sir John Moores and his brother Cecil. From the humble beginnings of the Football Pools to the evolution of mail order catalogues and retail stores, Littlewoods became a household name and a national institution. The Moores Brothers were ahead of their time employing a workforce of mainly women. At its peak, over 30,000 employees worked for the company. During the war, Littlewoods buildings were commandeered to make barrage balloons and Halifax bombers as the women were repurposed for the wartime effort. With the rise of automation, they were one of the first companies in the UK to introduce IBM computers. The family led business was also renowned for looking after their employees; not only did they pay the best wage in Liverpool, but ‘Littlewoodies’ were also treated to day trips and given the chance to join in-house sports teams, choirs and amateur dramatic groups. There was also the annual beauty pageant where employees competed for the coveted title of ‘Miss Littlewood’. Although the Moores family sold the business in 2002 (with the Pools moving online as The Football Pools and the retail arm going to the Shop Direct Group, Very), the legacy of Littlewoods still resonates within the city of Liverpool and beyond.
The Littlewoods Digital Archive captures the rich experience of working for Littlewoods. The archive is a collection of vintage photographs, letters, documents and marketing paraphernalia associated with the company. The archive was made possible through funding from Heritage Lottery and Liverpool John Moores University in association with The National Football Museum, Metal and The Football Pools. The Littlewoods Digital Archive was made possible by LJMU student interns who recorded oral history interviews and digitised and catalogued material from the physical Littlewoods collection that is held at the National Football Museum in Preston.
The archive is part of the Littlewoods Heritage Project; an intergenerational, community project involving academics, students, artists, school children and former employees of Littlewoods. This archive was launched on 14th June 2023, to mark the centenary year of Littlewoods and the bi-centenary celebrations of Liverpool John Moores university.
This historic collection does include evidence of some offensive and discriminatory language, imagery, terminology (including racism, sexism, and misogyny). However, it is important to acknowledge that these materials reflect the general context of the time, and to preserve access for research purposes, some digital reproductions and uncensored language may be retained within item-level descriptions.
For more information, or suggestions to improve these catalogue descriptions, please contact archives@ljmu.ac.uk.
Alt Ref NoPRSFM
AdminHistoryLiverpool's most prominent art deco building was built in 1938 as the headquarters for Littlewoods; it housed a giant printing press that sent millions of coupons across the country every week. During the second world war it became the home of the government's postal censorship department whilst its printing presses were being used to print National Registration cards. In 2018, Capital & Centric LTD announced that the famous edge lane building will consist of a new film studio predicted to become "Hollywood of the North".

Littlewoods was amongst the key retailers for consumers to buy their essential items, the emergence of the Littlewoods shopping catalogues changed the retail spaces allowing for easier purchases for the customer. In 2002, the Moores family sold the catalogue business to the Barclay Brothers and later merged with Kays Catalogues to create the Shop Direct Group. As of 2019, Littlewoods's retail company can now be found under Very.com, a multi-brand online retail group.
CustodialHistoryThe archive is part of the Littlewoods Heritage Project; an intergenerational, community project involving academics, students, artists, school children and former employees of Littlewoods. This archive was launched on 14th June 2023, to mark the centenary year of Littlewoods and the bi-centenary celebrations of Liverpool John Moores University.
AccessStatusOpen
AccessConditionsAccess to the material is open and unrestricted. However, physical copies of the collection can be accessed at Preston Football Museum. Contact details are available at http://www.nationalfootballmuseum.com/collections/research/
Digital copies are available at Special Collections and Archives.
LocationPreston Football Museum
CreatorCatalogued by Rhianna Arnold and the Littlewoods Interns
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