Liverpool and Football go hand in hand and for many years Liverpool was also synonymous with the Football Pools. Started in 1923, Littlewoods pools meant that thousands of working people began to spend a few pence each week hoping to win a money prize. Vernons came along in 1925 and employed agents to actually do house calls to collect those pennies. Soon millions of working people were playing the only national gambling competition and Liverpool was the centre of an industry that employed thousands of women checking the weekly returns.
The Football League attempted to keep football fixtures secret to crush the pools industry. This forced an agreement whereby a percentage of Pools money went to the League. The importance of the Pools business to Liverpool and it’s importance to the football league cannot be underestimated.
Vernons Pools launched The Vernons Girls as a singing choir in the 1950s, made up of employees, the girls who checked the pools coupons. Initially, they were a 70-strong choir, and they were popular so popular that Vernons thought they had commercial potential and could promote the Vernons name.
They were constantly vying with Littlewoods for the working man’s pennies. They slimmed the choir down to sixteen girls and they were signed by Jack Good for regular appearances on the BBC TV show ‘6.5 Special.’ Then on the shows ‘Oh Boy’ and ‘Boy Meets Girl’, The Vernon Girls made records in their own right and acted as session singers for many artists. Two of the girls married rock-and- roll stars Marty Wilde and Joe Brown, their children Kim Wilde and Sam Brown both became female 80s pop icons. When The Vernon Girls split, they formed other girl groups The Fordettes, The Pearls, The Ladybirds, and had successful solo careers in the UK and in Europe.
Most of The Vernon Girls were Merseyside born and bred and The Royal Court would love to tell this very Liverpool success story. Writer Karen Brown is working with the Royal Court and she wants to bring the passion and energy of that era to the stage. It is an exciting story about ordinary working-class women who had their lives turned upside down and were thrown into the glamourous world of rock and roll. But it is also the story of young women, who were still Vernon employees, even if they did appear on the telly on a Saturday night.
We are asking anyone who worked at Vernons to send us an email and tell us your thoughts. We would especially like to hear from anyone who was involved with The Vernon Girls in any way or who are family members.
If you have a story to tell about your time at Veronons then please email [email protected] and Karen get be in touch with you.