Bootle's May Queen

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1931 May Queen dress to go on display at Museum of Liverpool

A traditional May Queen costume is to be displayed at the Museum of Liverpool. The white floral dress and elaborate cloak, worn by Edna May Fairweather in 1931 when she was crowned Bootle’s May Queen, will go on display on 29 April until 12 June.

The special display also features the May Queen crown, original programme and photographs, to showcase Bootle’s once popular May Day Demonstration festival, first held in 1899.

Kay Jones, Curator of Urban History said:

“85 years on from when it was first worn by Edna, it’s wonderful to display her fabulous outfit, along with the original programme and photographs from the event which show what an incredibly special day it must have been for her.

“It will give visitors the chance to see what a traditional May Queen ceremony entailed and maybe even bring back happy memories of their own May Day celebrations.”

Edna was crowned May Queen when she was only 10 years old. The pageant took place in South Park, Bootle, 6 June 1931. She wore the beautiful white dress, cloak and crown for the occasion.

Edna lived with her family in Aintree Road, Bootle and it is believed that her mother Nancy may have made the cloak. The following year Edna acted as Dowager Queen to the newly crowned May Queen.

The outfit, photographs and booklet were proudly kept by the family and discovered in Edna's mother's house after her death. They were kindly donated to the Museum of Liverpool by Edna’s niece in 2014.

The May Queen is a young girl chosen and crowned in a traditional May Day celebration. The May Queen symbolises the May Day Holiday, and spring and summer time, with the Queen presiding over the event and marking the beginning of the celebrations.

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Notes to editors:

Museum of Liverpool
The Museum of Liverpool is one of the country’s most visited museums outside of London. It is the largest newly-built national museum in Britain for more than a century, demonstrating Liverpool’s unique contribution to the world. The first national museum devoted to the history of a regional city, it showcases popular culture while tackling social, historical and contemporary issues. It has attracted more than two million visitors since opening in July 2011. The prestigious Council of Europe Museum Prize for 2013 was awarded to the Museum for its commitment to human rights as well as its work with children and families from all backgrounds.

The Museum has received generous support from several major funders, and grants from trusts and foundations, corporate support and individual donations. Major funders include the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS),Garfield Weston Foundation and the Clore Duffield Foundation.

The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) was responsible for the sustainable economic development and regeneration of England’s Northwest and had five key priorities: Business, Skills and Education, People and Jobs, Infrastructure and Quality of Life.

The European Development Fund (ERDF) is making a real difference to people and businesses in the North West. With €755 million to invest between 2007 and 2013, ERDF is enhancing the competitiveness of the region’s economy by supporting growth in enterprise and employment. ERDF in the North West is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government – for further information visit

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.  HLF has supported more than 30,000 projects allocating £4.5billion across the UK.

About National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues, including some of the most visited museums in England outside of London. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract nearly 2.7 million visitors every year. Our venues are the Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Border Force National Museum, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery.