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More details about our Women in Wartime Conference: Women’s Football in World War One

By April 7th, 2021No Comments
Bolckow's Ladies Football Team.

Picture above – Bolckow and Vaughan 1913 (Dorman Museum)

Continuing a look at some of the papers and speakers in our forthcoming ‘Women in Wartime’ Conference.

You can find out about all the speakers and book your ticket here:

The following paper will be delivered by Martin Peagam.


Two Cup Finals and then Banned for Life: women’s football in World War One

50 years ago the English FA rescinded a ban on women playing football.

100 years ago women were banned from playing football.

104 years ago 30,000 spectators gathered to watch an all-women football cup-final at Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough.

World War One brought women into the workplace out of necessity. As soon as that need was gone, women were sacked from jobs they had proved very competent at.

World War One also brought women into football grounds previously reserved for men. Not as spectators, but as players. But they were too successful and popular. And so, they had to be banned.

The story can be told through the emergence and demise of the Munitionettes Cup.

A football cup competition created in response to the popularity of competitive women’s football in the North East of England, the Munitionettes Cup saw major football grounds in North East England filled to capacity with spectators, watching women who only a few years earlier would not have even kicked a ball.

Drawing on stories from Teesside, this presentation looks at how women came to play in two cup finals, and represent their country in international fixtures at sport, then saw them discarded by the sport’s governing body.

It also examines what motivated the players, including how one woman laced up her boots in memory of her brother and boyfriend, after both died serving their country.

Picture – Women Furness Shipyard 1917 – Teesside Archives

BIOGRAPHY – Martin Peagam.

Popular local history researcher, speaker and guide in Cleveland and Teesside.

Secretary – Cleveland and Teesside Local History Society

Chairman – The Captain Cook Birthplace Trust

Coordinator and Contributor – Local History Month Middlesbrough and Stockton

Member – ‘The Friends of the Stockton and Darlington Railway’

Member – ‘The Battle of Stockton Campaign’

Member – Community Steering Group High Street Heritage Action Zone – Middlesbrough

Co-presenter – CVFM Radio Community Show, talking about local history

Contributor to:

‘The Architecture that the Railways Built’ series

BBC News Afternoon

BBC Look North

ITV News Tyne Tees

BBC Radio Tees.

To read in more detail about another paper, see:

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