Role that Sport Played – Sport Unites Project
Sport Amongst Women
During the First World War, more than 900,000 women worked in munitions factories. Most factories employed a welfare officer to monitor the health, wellbeing and behaviour of their new female work force. Sport, specially football, was encouraged and many munitions factories developed their own ladies football teams. The most famous of these were Dick, Kerr’s Ladies FC in Preston. Founded in 1917, their matches drew large crowds. They continued to enjoy success until women were banned from playing in Football League grounds in 1921.
Alfred Frankland, who worked in the offices of the Dick, Kerr factory in Preston arranged for the women to play a game on Christmas Day 1917, in aid of the local hospital for wounded soldiers at Moor Park. Frankland persuaded Preston North End to allow the women to play the game at their ground at Deepdale. It was the first football game to be played on the ground since the Football League programme was cancelled after the outbreak of the First World War. Over 10,000 people turned up to watch the game. After paying out the considerable costs of putting on the game, Frankland was able to donate £200 to the hospital (£41,000 in today’s money).
Dick, Kerr Ladies Football Team Photo: Courtesy of www.bing.com