Search to identify local lionesses from old photo

In the wake of the Lionesses’ World Cup near miss, Scarborough Museums and Galleries (SMG) is seeking to identify some local lionesses.

Last week, SMG posted a picture from its collections, probably taken in the 1960s, on its Facebook page, asking if anyone could identify five women in football strip on what looks like the beach at Scarborough’s South Bay.

There was an immediate response from Pat Bayes, who identified two of the women: on the far left, back row, is Minnie Moss, a cousin of her late father’s, and far left, front row, is Jessie Rafter, a friend of her late mother’s.

That was followed by a post from Sheila Peasegood, who was able to enlarge on the story: “Wow, what a blast from the past. The lady on the front row, number 3, is my, Mum Jessie Holland [née Rafter]. The lady directly behind her, wearing the watch, is Minnie Moss. They and the lady wearing the number 9 shorts all worked at Marks and Spencer.

“I’m afraid that I don’t know the other two ladies or even if they too worked at Marks and Spencer. The photo could have had something to do with the Benelux Festival, as Mum used to do quite a lot when that was on. Thank you for the photo, I’ve never seen it before.”

A further post from Elaine Helliwell named the other three women as Mary Downie, Marjorie Taylor and Elvina Smith, and confirmed that all five did work for Marks and Spencer.

SMG then also heard from Carey Bilton, who added to the story with a fabulous picture of her Great Grandma Elsie (front row, third from left) with the Scarborough United Ladies team in 1921.

SMG chief executive Andrew Clay says: “We’re so thrilled to have been able to identify some of our very own local lionesses! If anyone knows why the photo was taken, we’d love to hear from them. And it would be great to go back another half-century or so, and put names to all those 1920s women footballers.

“Social history is such an important part of our heritage. All too often, people’s day-to-day lived experience is forgotten, but it’s as much an important part of history as the kings, queens and grandees!

“If you do know anything about either of these pictures, please do drop us a line at: