The earliest documented games date back to 1890, but it was in 1917 that women’s football really took off. Most munitions factories across the country had women’s football teams but Preston became the hub, and the strongest of the teams was Dick, Kerr’s Ladies. Dick, Kerr & Co encouraged competitive sport as a way to improve company morale and, after beating the company’s men’s team, the Ladies began playing charity matches to raise money for injured servicemen. The company covered their expenses while they continued to work full time.
They were hugely successful and the team continued for over 40 years losing only 24 of their 828 matches. From the start, women’s matches attracted large crowds, often larger than men’s matches played on the same day. Many believe this is the real reason behind the FA banning women’s matches from their affiliated grounds in 1921, although the official reason is that they considered it an unsuitable activity for women.
Women continued to play at unaffiliated grounds until the early 1970s when the ban was lifted. Twenty years later the Women’s Football Committee was formed and by 2002 football was the top participation sport for women and girls. Since 1991 the English Lionesses have reached three World Cup quarterfinals and finished third in 2015. This year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals are being held in France.
British Pathé recorded a number of Dick, Kerr’s Ladies matches from the very early 1920s, as well as their departure on tour to Canada in 1922. It’s wonderful footage that British Pathé have archived safely over the years.
When it comes to maintaining your archives, Restore have all the storage capabilities you’re looking for – whether it’s magnetic for your corporate back-ups or unique facilities for your items. Call one of our customer service team to find out more, or to arrange a look around, on 03300 376 323.