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.
Three 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.
Photograph 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!
Ticket stubs from the tour in Reims, France
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.
Gladys 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!