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An annual staff day trip to Blackpool in August 1939 was cuttingly disturbed by a wireless announcement, ‘the country was in imminent peril’, everyone was rallied onto coaches and swiftly returned to Liverpool without complaint. A telegram was sent to John in Loch Grannoch asking for as many blankets from his stock as possible, he offered them the lot, he also offered all their premises to the government, should they be wanted during the war. In no less than two days, the Edge Lane building became home to the government censorship department (MC5), but it also became an air-raid precaution (ARP) organisation, and the J & C Moores printing press was overturned to produce seventeen million conscription forms in three days! This rate of response was to be maintained throughout the War period as Littlewoods diversified to support the war effort.

And this is what followed... 5 million parachutes, 20,000 barrage balloons, 50,000 dinghies, 6 million fuses, 12 million shells and over 4,000 pontoons and stormboats. As such, 16 factories, 8 divisions and 14,000 women working around the clock were required to sustain this immense and immaculate production of war materials. According to John Moores their success was dependent on two vital factors, the first being proficient and skillful workers, the second being executives’ organizational and managerial skills. Two resources he had in abundance. 


Meanwhile, at request of the government, The Pools Promoters Association assembled Unity Pools, an alliance between top promoters (Littlewoods, Zetters and Vernons) . An accusation by a clergyman claiming Unity pools were breaking the Law by printing coupons in the newspaper was filed and won, from then on, newspaper printing was out of bounds. However, it seemed that the government came to realise the true value of the business when millions of pounds in income tax, postage stamps etc., were now missing. So, they granted the business a limited amount of paper and Cecil came up with a newer, but much smaller coupon. Unity Pools ran throughout the war and terminated in 1946.

Outside of London, Liverpool was the most bombed city in the UK. Over 10,000 houses were destroyed, nearly 4,000 civilians were killed and 70,000 people were made homeless. These horrifying statistics were buried under London centric propaganda that discarded these horrors from national press in favor of their own. In terms of Littlewoods, Mail order head office was bombed, relocated, and bombed again. Over the course of three nights, Hanover Street and Leeds Street received direct hits from air strikes, Oldham Place and Old Hall Street were damaged, Irlam and Road and Canning Street were regular targets of incendiaries, none of which were significant but still disrupted business.  

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