Public Competitions in Sheffield 1981-83 2017-07-12T15:27:23+00:00

Public Competitions, Sheffield 1981-83

I was interested and intrigued as to the motivation and incentives that drives people into entering public competitions; the desire to stand out and be recognised as the best, the most beautiful, the strongest, the quickest, a winner. Outside of sporting events, the judging criteria that selected a winner never seemed to be disclosed, but always followed the widely held stereotypical images of the day.

What were the rewards and what about the consequences of not winning? Monetary reward was an obvious incentive particularly with sporting events, but there is something else far more fundamental in the desire to compete in public competitions. Theories that the desire to win is an evolutionary and biological trait concerned with power, dominance and survival within human society are interesting ideas. Superiority, self worth, the need for achievement and short lived fame, must certainly be factors in the psychology of competitiveness.

These public competitions were common place and extremely popular in Sheffield during the early 1980’s. Most of these events were driven by the Sheffield Star Newspaper group often in association with a sponsor in order to promote a business or service with the aim to increase the newspapers circulation. The competition winners were given prominent positioning in the newspaper and were useful ‘page fillers’ and distraction from the usual everyday news.

The purpose of this first piece of social documentary photography was to record and describe these public spectacles and peripheral activities. Here is a selection of photographs from this project which formed part of my degree show and exhibited in its entirety at the Untitled Gallery, Sheffield in 1983.

All these photographs were taken using a Leica M2 with a 35mm Summaron Lens and Metz-45 CT-1 flash gun. Photographs may be purchased or used at my discretion. Visitors to this webpage are invited to contribute any relevant information they may have that will add to its content. Please contact me at info@billstephenson.co.uk

All images are Strictly Copyright © 2017 Bill Stephenson All Rights Reserved

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-001

[PC 001] Boxing champion boxer Kenny Bristol weighs in at Club Tiberius Sporting Club, Duchess Road, Sheffield. He is defending his Commonwealth (British Empire) Super Welterweight title against Sheffield’s Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham. Herol wins on points after 15 rounds. Pictured with him is Joy Shearer one of the Shearer triplets.

The Shearer triplets, Joy, Joanne and Julie were well known in Sheffield throughout the late 1970’s and early 80’s for their glamour, promotion work, part-time modelling and go-go dancing. Joy had recently come third in a ‘Miss Lovely Legs’ competition.

Club Tiberius Sporting Club, Sheffield. 25.11.1981

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-002

[PC 002] Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham poses with the Shearer triplets at his after match celebration party at the Club Tiberius. He had arrived late for the party, which had started without him. Food had been saved for him, he was later presented with a clock.

Club Tiberius Sporting Club, Sheffield. 25.11.1981

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-003

[PC 003] Ring card girl at the Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham and Chris Christian Commonwealth (British Empire) Super Welterweight title fight.

Sheffield City Hall. 24.02.1982

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-004

[PC 004] Ring card girl at the Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham and Chris Christian Commonwealth (British Empire) Super Welterweight title fight.

Sheffield City Hall. 24.02.1982

Children’s competitions were very popular during the 70’s and early 1980’s. ‘Miss Julie’ was a children’s ‘beauty’ competition organised by Sheffield department store Debenhams in association with The Star newspaper. ‘Miss Julie’ was a children’s clothing brand. The contest aim was to market the ‘Miss Julie’ brand and boost newspaper circulation. Ventriloquist Keith Harris and Orville performed after the event.

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-005

[PC 005] ‘Miss Julie’ 1st semi-final winner Emma-Jane Gill (4-6 age group) and compere Peter Gray.

Debenhams, Sheffield. 19.11.1981

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-006

[PC 006] ‘Miss Julie’ contestants and compere Peter Gray at the 1st semi final contest.

Debenhams, Sheffield. 19.11.1981

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-007

[PC 007] ‘Miss Julie’ contest judges and onlookers.

Debenhams, Sheffield. 19.11.1981

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-008

[PC 008] ‘Miss Julie’ contestant and onlookers.

Debenhams, Sheffield. 12.12.1981

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-009

[PC 009] ‘Miss Julie’ contestants led off stage after the final selection has been made.

Debenhams, Sheffield. 12.12.1981

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-010

[PC 010] Contestant mothers and ‘Miss Julie’ winner Rachael Buckley.

Debenhams, Sheffield. 12.12.1981

‘Miss Gazette’ was an annual beauty contest held at Romeo’s & Juliet’s nightclub, Bank Street, Sheffield. The Gazette was a free weekly advertising newspaper, part of the Sheffield Star Newspapers Group.

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-011

[PC 011] Compere and contestant at the semi-final of ‘Miss Gazette’ beauty contest.

Romeo’s & Juliet’s, Sheffield. 22.04.1983

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-012

[PC 012] Marie Rees, age 20. Contestant at the semi-final of ‘Miss Gazette’ beauty contest.

Romeo’s & Juliet’s, Sheffield. 22.04.1983

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-013

[PC 013] Contestants pose for a Sheffield Star newspaper photographer at the semi-final of ‘Miss Gazette’ beauty contest.

Romeo’s & Juliet’s, Sheffield. 22.04.1983

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-014

[PC 014] ‘Miss Gazette 1983’ winner Carol Stuart celebrates backstage.

Romeo’s & Juliet’s, Sheffield. 03.05.1983

The ‘Mr Wimp’ contest was a popular event held at Romeo & Juliet’s nightclub, Sheffield. The intention was to mock the more serious beauty competitions of the time.

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-015

[PC 015] ‘Mr Wimp’ contestants.

Romeo & Juliets, Sheffield. 1983

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-016

[PC 016] ‘Mr Wimp’ contest winner Russell and ‘Mr Muscle’, the winner of a national body building competition, these two competition winners met for a publicity photo shoot. The strapline was ‘Russell meets Mr Muscle’.

Top Rank Suite, Sheffield. 1983

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-017

[PC 017] Two bodybuilding contestants perform one of the mandatory ‘open handed’ muscularity contest poses.

Top Rank Suite, Sheffield. 1983

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-018

[PC 018] Contestants at the Commonwealth Disco Dance Contest.

Top Rank Suite, Sheffield. 03.05.1982

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-019

[PC 019] Disco dance twin sisters at the Commonwealth Disco Dance Contest.

Top Rank Suite, Sheffield. 03.05.1982

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-020

[PC 020] ‘Miss Motor Show’ contestants prepare to parade on stage.

The Sheffield Motor Show & Family Gala, Graves Park, Sheffield. July 1982

Public Competitions Sheffield 1981-83 PC-021

[PC 021] ‘The Miss Motor Show Interview’.

The Sheffield Motor Show & Family Gala, Graves Park, Sheffield. July 1982