NOSTALGIA: Bathing belles drew huge crowds to their seafront beauty pageants

A contestant on the catwalk in a Miss Southsea competition in the late 1950s or early 1960s.
A contestant on the catwalk in a Miss Southsea competition in the late 1950s or early 1960s.
Looking down London Road circa 1903. The Horndean Light Railway tracks are on the right.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection

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While researching pictures to illustrate recent stories about the Savoy Buildings on Southsea seafront, I found a welter of old beauty pageant photos.

It’s hard to imagine today that these events could have attracted such huge crowds.

Poster for the Miss Southsea 1957 pageant.

Poster for the Miss Southsea 1957 pageant.

And if you look closely you’ll notice that the majority of faces in the crowd are female.

Anyway, whatever your views on beauty contests, if nothing else today’s pictures will at least transport you back to summer.

A Miss Southsea beauty contest on South Parade Pier in the 1960s ENGPPP00120120124122605

A Miss Southsea beauty contest on South Parade Pier in the 1960s ENGPPP00120120124122605

A  Marilyn Monroe beauty competition at Southsea.

A Marilyn Monroe beauty competition at Southsea.

The winners of the Marilyn Monroe contest.

The winners of the Marilyn Monroe contest.

Hard to believe today that a beauty contest could attract such numbers. Its even harder to remember occasions like this on the sun deck of South Parade Pier, Southsea.

Hard to believe today that a beauty contest could attract such numbers. Its even harder to remember occasions like this on the sun deck of South Parade Pier, Southsea.