The first Olympic gold medal won by a British female swimmer has been successfully secured by Blackpool Council at auction.
Significant parts of the personal archives and medal collection of the renowned Blackpool swimmer and Olympian athlete Lucy Morton will now find a home with Blackpool’s Museum and Heritage Service.
After setting the world records for the 150 yard backstroke and 200 yard breaststroke, as well as winning the Mersey Mile Championship, Lucy went on to achieve glory at the 1924 Paris Olympics.
The acquisition ensures that her collection remains in the public domain and will be brought back to Blackpool where Lucy lived for over 70 years.
The Lucy Morton Collection containing 40 lots of medals and other items was sold at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire this month.
There to watch the sporting action unfold was Lucy’s granddaughter Julia Routledge, 60, a retired civil servant from Evesham, Worcestershire, who together with her sister Annette Judge, 56, from Farnham, Surrey, decided the time had come to part with the collection.
The collection was at risk of being dispersed entirely but Blackpool Council was able to secure 18 lots including Lucy’s Olympic Diploma and her 1924 Gold Medal which she won in the 200m breaststroke event.
Other items secured relating to her incredible swimming career range from action photographs, swimming certificates, books, letters, programmes to newspaper articles.
The total hammer price for all lots including the Gold Medal was £12,255. The funding has come from Blackpool Council and a grant from the Blackpool Civic Trust.
The archive will now be housed at the History Centre at Blackpool Central Library which preserves and gives access to Blackpool’s incredible heritage collections.
The Blackpool Museum Project which is developing Blackpool’s first museum will also feature Lucy’s story.
Lucy was born in Knutsford in 1898, but moved to Blackpool as a child. She attended Christ Church School and was a member of the Blackpool Amateur Swimming Club.
A Blue Plaque commemorating Lucy Morton was unveiled by Blackpool Civic Trust in 2012 on the front of Blackpool Town Hall. Lucy had previously lived there when her father was a Mayoral attendant.
It is also where she was given a huge Blackpool welcome when she returned home from Paris in 1924.
The diploma acquired as part of the sale was presented to her on behalf of the Olympic Committee by the Mayor of Blackpool alongside the gift of a piano that was paid for by the people of Blackpool.
When Lucy retired from competitive swimming, she taught local children to swim in Blackpool.
Lucy’s granddaughter Julia Routledge, said: “We’re pleased there was so much interest in our grandmother’s sports memorabilia and medals.
“We always hoped a museum, sporting organisation or the town of Blackpool, where she lived for most of her life, would buy items for public display. We’re delighted that’s happened.”
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “A significant part of Lucy Morton’s important archive is going home to Blackpool for everyone to see and enjoy.
“Her medals and memorabilia tell the story of one of Britain’s greatest but, perhaps, long forgotten and overlooked Olympians.
“She was an inspiration to many and now her story will live on forever.”