Depending on who you speak to, beauty contests are either a bit of harmless fun or an archaic way for men to belittle women.
In the 1970s, the Miss World contest drew huge TV audiences, with contestants smiling, posing and batting their eye lashes while enthusing about their hopes for world peace.
These days, the women need to be more than just a pretty face – the UK’s entrant in 2014 held a first class honours degree in pre-clinical medical studies from Cambridge University.
Back in 1970, one Crawley firm – Building & Civil Engineering Holidays Scheme Management Ltd – was quick to introduce its own contest and crowned Linda Gumbrell as the winner.
A report in the Crawley & District Observer stated: “Miss Building and Civil Engineering Holiday Scheme 1970 is 21-year-old Miss Linda Gumbrell, who was chosen at a party in the firm’s restaurant.
“Miss Gumbrell was presented with a sach by last year’s winner, Miss Christine Knox, who organised the firm’s netball team.
“The Bachs Social Club president Mr FW Harding, presented the prizes to winners of the handicraft and hobby exhibition which was held on the same night.
“Judges for the Miss Bachs competition were Miss Elizabeth Bond, Mrs Grace Bogwood, Mr John Smith and the Rev Edgar Wallace (industrial chaplain).”
The company is still in Crawley, based in Manor Royal – does anyone know if they still hold staff beauty contests?