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NORTH EAST BEAUTY CONTESTS; Back in time on the North East catwalk.

Byline: Dave Morton Nostalgia Editor

In worldly-wise 2018, the notion of a Miss World or a Miss Newcastle or, indeed, a Miss Sunday Sun might seem politically incorrect and oldfashioned to some.

But try telling that to the girls on these pages, or the millions who tuned into the annual televised Miss World contests in the 1960s and 70s.

The event, which spawned a host of imitators over the following decades, was launched by Eric Morley in 1951 as part of that year's Festival of Britain celebrations. It first appeared on BBC TV in 1959 and struck a chord, as the popularity of the beauty contest surged over the next 20 years.

No self-respecting town, holiday resort, caravan park -or indeed newspaper -was complete without its own "Miss."

And maybe surprisingly, the beauty contest had roots in our region.

When the 1973 Miss World, Marjorie Wallace, visited the Sunday Sun offices for a photo shoot 45 years ago, little did she know Newcastle had history in that department. It was here in 1905 that an event called the Blonde and Brunette Beauty Show -open to girls over 16 -was held at the city's Olympia Theatre.

If the Miss Butlins and Miss Pontins competitions of the 1960s had been light-hearted affairs, later contests would be more professional and competitive.

For winners, there was the prospect of money and careers in fashion and glamour.

In 1980, the Evening Chronicle reported on the Newcastle heat of the Miss England contest at the city's trendy Madison's nightclub.

One of the contestants, 21-year-old Vicky Stamp, of Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, a veteran of six contests, said: "There are so many pretty girls in the North East. The standard is very high."

But the cracks had already begun to show as the 1980s saw contests disrupted by women's liberation protesters.

The Miss World TV show was shunted from BBC to Channel 5 in the 1990s -and then on to little-known satellite channels.

There were attempts to show the contestants in a more educated light, with tests for intelligence and personality, but changing tastes and fashions mean today's Miss World contest, and its like, are a shadow of what they were.

But the catwalks haven't all been consigned to history. Applicants are now invited for Miss Newcastle 2018. The final will be held in June. Meanwhile, last year's winner was 17-year-old Alisha Cowie from Spennymoor, Co Durham, who beat 19 other girls to take the title at Newcastle Civic Centre.

Enjoy our photos from the Sunday Sun archive.

|| Heat winners in the Miss Clubman beauty contest at the Sunday Sun's Jack O'Clubs Roadshow, St Mary's Hospital Social Club, Stannington, Northumberland, August 1975 Next week: The North East in 1988


|| Above, Miss Tyneside, Vivien Stamp, launches the new BMW 3 series of cars at the Priory dealership in North Shields; left, Miss Shephards of Gateshead contest, 1971

A beauty contest in Tynemouth, 1959 (BBC Newcastle)

|| Jennifer Hosten, Miss World 1970, visits Newcastle, January 1970

| Left, Rachel Meritt, 17, Miss Evening Chronicle, 1983; right, four years later, Rachel, centre, became Miss Tyne and Wear after a competition at the Metrocentre, Gateshead

|| A beauty contest, Crimdon Dene holiday park, County Durham, summer 1972

|| Above, finalists from Ponteland and Sunderland in the Miss North Eastern Co-op beauty contest, 1979; below, a 'Marilyn Monroe beauty contest', Whitley Bay, 1950s

|| Above, Miss Evening Chronicle 1984, Jacoui Failes, right, with runners-up at the Tyneside Summer Exhibition; below, Miss Clubland 1975 with the Sunday Sun's Jack Amos

The Miss Tyne TV beauty contest at Tynemouth Open Air Swimming Pool, July 1971

Miss United Kingdom contest at the Mayfair Ballroom, Newcastle, 1961

|| The semi-final of the Miss England beauty contests at Madison's nightclub, Newcastle, 1980

|| Miss Felling contestants at the Grand Cinema, Pelaw, 1953

|| Miss Great Britain, 1956. Iris Waller from Gateshead was a contestant

|| 21 contestants at the Miss Newcastle competition, 1979

| Paul Gascoigne in action for Newcastle United, April 1988

|| Entrants in the Miss Middlesbrough beauty contest, 1985

|| Miss World, Belinda Green, on a visit to Tyneside, January 10, 1973

|| Miss Newcastle contestants in 1980

|| Jacqui Grey was Northumberland Coal Queen in 1983

|| Deborah Tate was Northumberland Coal Queen in 1982
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Sun (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 29, 2018
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