Scrapbooking: Preserving the stories of Manchester’s Corinthian Ladies

Each week we are uncovering more fascinating objects from the vast collection of women’s football material at the National Football Museum archive.

Each object represents a story from the long and tumultuous history of women’s football, from impressive medals which symbolise a team’s journey to victory, to photographs which often tell a more personal story. This week we bring you a series of scrapbooks made by Gladys Aiken, veteran manager of the Manchester-based Corinthian Ladies – a team who fought the infamous ban on women’s football by playing in front of huge crowds and raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity between the 1950s and 1970s.

3Three scrapbooks made by Gladys Aikin

The Corinthian Ladies were founded in 1949 by Peter Ashley, whose intention was in part to provide his daughter with the opportunity to play football. The name was chosen to reflect the Corinthian values and the team was made up of career women, from typists to machinists.

Gladys Aiken took charge of the team in the late 1960s, and kept a series of scrapbooks to trace the journey of the Corinthians. They give a personal account of the activity of the team, featuring newspaper cuttings glued alongside match day programmes, as well as photographs of the team both during play and enjoying themselves post-match.

7Photograph of Gladys Aikin from a newspaper cutting in Scrapbook number 2

As she collected cut-outs and objects from every match, and gave each score, we can get an idea of how popular and successful they were. The team travelled to Reims, France, in 1970 for an international tournament and the relevant scrapbook includes flight tickets, photographs taken on the runway and congratulations cards received upon their victory!

1Ticket stubs from the tour in Reims, France

4        6

Photographs of the Corinthian Ladies on and off the pitch during the tournament in Reims, 1970

The scrapbooks also offer insight into the struggle of female players at the time as Gladys included cuttings from every newspaper mention given to the team. Headlines include ‘GIRLS FIGHT FOR SOCCER RIGHTS…’, ‘Keep away from the girls!’ and ‘A WIN FOR BANNED GIRL REF’, which refers to a woman referee, Pat Dunn being allowed to referee an international women’s tournament in 1969, in spite of the FA thinking it ‘ridiculous’ to accept lady referees.

5Gladys included newspaper cuttings which referred to the struggles of female footballers 

Scrapbooking is a brilliant way to preserve memories and personal stories. Do you have any stories that you would like to share with us? We need your help to uncover the full hidden history of women’s football, so please go to our contact page and tell us about your memories, or send us photographs of objects which symbolise your own history of the game!

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Kath Davies says:

    I have just seen this website and was myself a Corinthian lady in 1966. I have a few photos I will dig out to send to you.

    Like

    1. Hi Kath,

      That’s brilliant, we would love to see your pictures and hear any stories you have from that time!

      Like

  2. Would this be the Corinthian Ladies who used to play in Fog Lane Park, Didsbury? I used to watch them regularly; the Captain at the time was Doris Ashley, I thought her father’s name was Percy.
    The Doris Ashley I am talking about lived on Fog Lane and died nine or ten years ago.
    I understand that she had lots of photographs of her playing career.
    I was hoping shortly before she died to post a website about Corinthian Ladies, but as Doris was reluctant to see me I asked a friend of hers to give her a letter explaining what I intended to do; but she said that she was not interested so I abandoned the idea.

    I understand that she had a nephew who presumably inherited all the photographs and other football memorabilia.

    Kind regards

    Ernie Bullock

    Like

  3. Alan Spear says:

    My Grandparents lived in Fog Lane in the 1930’s to the late 1950’s and when we visited them he would take me to watch the ladies playing football opposite their house about 1954 to 57.

    Like

    1. Kate Turner says:

      How lovely Alan, it’s great to hear from a Corinthian spectator!

      Like

  4. Veronica Bailey says:

    I played for Corinthians from 1956 to 1959 and played in Portugal with them in 1957 and 1958 also November 1997 won the European Cup with them in Germany. Would be happy to share some memoirs. I have some photos and the cup we were presented with for beating Germany 4-0 in the final.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate Turner says:

      4-0! What a win! We are really keen to hear more about this and will contact you shortly

      Like

    2. Diana Johnson says:

      Hi Veronica. I have just read your reply to the Corinthian ladies hidden history of ladies football. I have just been speaking to Myra Lypnyckyj and we are trying to find as many of the ladies who played for Corinthian ladies for a get together on 1st October at the National Football Museum Manchester. Please contact me on dianajgolf@virginmedia.com
      .
      .Diana Johnson (Wright)
      .

      .

      Like

  5. Lesley Portlock nee Howard says:

    Hi Diana I’ve just seen your message re get together for corinthians , shame I would have loved to be there . I played for them 1959/60, can you tell me who did attend , please went on South America tour , with them. Thanks.

    Like

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