‘the referee was generous enough to limit the ordeal’: Women’s football in Scotland, 1914-1939, 4 May 2022


21 September 2021
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A view of women's football Newcastle upon Tyne taken in 1938. The photograph shows a member of the Scottish team being massaged by fellow players before the match against the North of England.
Join Dr Fiona Skillen for an exclusive illustrated talk on the history of women's football in Scotland.

Football for women has a long history in Scotland. The earliest records of women playing football can be traced back to 1628. The roots of the modern women’s game can be traced back to the 1880s and 1890s when early matches were played in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

By the outbreak of the First World War the women’s game had become established in England, particularly in the north. Much has been written about these developments. Best known amongst the teams of the north were the Dick Kerr’s Ladies whose skill and popularity saw them become internationally recognized during the period. The game was also growing in popularity in Scotland, with the emergence of teams such as Rutherglen Ladies F.C, strongest amongst a range of other teams across Scotland.


Join Dr Fiona Skillen on 4 May 2022 at 6.30pm for a 45-minute talk followed by a 30-minute Q&A.

Places are limited - book now for just £10


However little has been written about these pioneering women. This is partly because there were very few records left by these teams and newspaper coverage of women’s sport generally, and football specifically, is sparse for this time.

None the less it is often in local and specialist papers we are able to catch glimpses of the women’s game. As a result, this talk will be drawing on reports and photographs from local newspapers to trace the developments from the outbreak of World War One in 1914 to the outbreak of World War Two in 1939. 


Event details

Join Dr Fiona Skillen for a for a 45-minute talk followed by a 30-minute Q&A. The webinar will be recorded and the recording made available to ticket holders for 7 days after broadcast.

The event will be chaired by Dr Allan Kennedy, senior lecturer in history at the University of Dundee, and History Scotland’s consultant editor.

Registration fee: £10. Starts 6.30pm UK time. To find the start time in your time zone, visit TimeAndDate.

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Speaker details

Dr Fiona Skillen is a senior lecturer in History in the Department of Social Sciences, in the School for Business and Society at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Her research interests concern modern history, in particular aspects of sport, gender and popular culture. She is particularly interested in women’s sport during the late 19th and 20th centuries and has published extensively in this area.

She regularly contributes to radio and television programmes on the history of sport, including the award-winning Radio 4 series Sport and the British and as a regular guest on STV’s People’s History Show series. She is a former Chair of British Society of Sport History, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an editor of the International Journal of the History of Sport.


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Registration fee: £10. Starts 6.30pm (GMT+1). To find the start time in your time zone, visit TimeAndDate.

Book your ticket here!