Spend, Spend, Spend: New exhibition about notorious pools winner Viv Nicholson opens in Castleford

Viv Nicholson
Viv Nicholson
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An exhibition documenting the life of Britain's most famous pools winner has opened at Castleford Museum.

Vivian Nicholson, who lived in the town, rose to fame when her husband Keith won more than £152,000 on Littlewoods Pools football betting game in 1961.

Viv, as she was known, infamously declared to the media that she would 'spend, spend, spend' the cash, which is the equivalent of around £3 million in today's money.

The new exhibition tells her story and includes a variety of objects including a pair of her leopard print shoes and original costumes, loaned by West Yorkshire Playhouse, from the Spend Spend Spend! musical, written about her life.

Visitors can also see a replica of the Nicholsons’ winning Pools coupon, courtesy of The Pools Company and National Museums Liverpool.

Coun Jacquie Speight, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport at Wakefield Council, said: “We’re really proud that our district’s museums are fun and vibrant places that tell the stories of both the distant past and much more recent history.

“This exhibition highlights the life one of Castleford’s most well-known characters, who after the pools’ win suddenly found herself in a whirlwind of media TV interviews and magazine articles.

"Come and see this portrait of a fascinating person and learn more about her extraordinary story.”

Viv's story of rags to riches - and back to rags again, after rapidly spending her fortune - captured the public imagination and inspired a TV drama and stage shows. She also famously appeared on the cover of The Smiths’ album, ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.’

The exhibition runs until December 31 and entry is free.

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