Please cite this article as:

Roberts, M. and Webb, S. Students at Play: Sport in the Cheshire County Training College, 1908-1918, In Day, D. (ed), Playing Pasts (Manchester: MMU Sport and Leisure History, 2020), 37-55.

ISBN paperback 978-1-910029-56-5


Chapter 3



Students at Play: Sport in the Cheshire County Training College, 1908-1918.

Margaret Roberts and Sarah Webb




The introduction of the 1902 Education Act saw wholesale changes sweep the English education system, which established teacher training as a form of higher education. Cheshire Education Authority quickly took the opportunity of the government funds available and in 1908 opened the Cheshire County Training College, a mixed-sex institution in Crewe. This chapter explores the sporting experiences of the students using materials from the College archives, historical newspapers and Education Committee minutes. It is apparent that the collective sporting priorities and opportunities of both sexes mirrored that of the gender expectations prevalent in wider society during the period. Generally, the female students found themselves restricted in terms of time, space and resources, when compared to their male counterparts. This was demonstrated not only by an unequal distribution of sporting finances and facilities but also a comparative low visibility with regards to sport reporting in the student magazine.

Keywords: Teacher-training: Women: Sport: Crewe: Great War


The first training colleges for teachers were created in the early part of the nineteenth century, aimed at teachers for elementary schools, there were over 30 by 1850 the majority of which were single-sex and associated with a religious denomination.[1] The wholesale changes instigated by 1902 Education Act, not only introduced the concept of education as a public service, but also established teacher training as a form of higher education.[2] The Act swept away the existing school boards and replaced them with 328 Local Education Authorities (LEAs) who were now responsible for the provision and control of all aspects of education delivery locally, thus laying down the foundation of an education system still recognized today.[3] By 1904, secular municipal training colleges were recognized and within twelve months the availably of government building grants encouraged many LEAs to provide their own county training colleges; indeed by the beginning of The Great War there were twenty-two such institutions, substantially increasing the number of training places available.[4]

Cheshire LEA, buoyed by innovative ideas that Chairman Dr William Hodgson bought back from a trip to America, quickly drew up plans for their own partly residential, mixed-sex training college.[5] However, the wheels of planning are never easy or swift and the need for teachers was pressing, so while a suitable site was acquired and dedicated buildings were approved and constructed, the Education Committee leased rooms at the Mechanics Institute (MI) in the centre of Crewe, appointed staff and enrolled students and on 5 September 1908, the inauguration of the Cheshire County Training College, Crewe (hereafter referred to as CCTCC or the College) took place. The local newspapers noted the event as marking an important epoch in the history of the county from an educational standpoint, further praising Cheshire for its commendable enterprise and genuine enthusiasm, which other counties would undoubtedly follow.[6] The whole ceremony was completed ‘amid a flourish of trumpets’.[7]

Life at the Mechanics Institute

The College was housed at the MI for the first four years of its life and it was the 93 men and 146 women,[8] who were trained during those four years, that established the sporting reputation of the College.[9] The cramped temporary conditions that characterized this first stage of the history of the College also helped to develop a supportive interaction between staff and students, creating the close-knit collegiate atmosphere so fondly recalled in later retrospectives.[10] The vigorous community spirit displayed by the young men and women in these formative years resulted in the inception of many of the sports teams, that featured in the College throughout its life, even though facilities for the playing of sport during these early years was difficult.[11]

There was no gymnasium at the MI, rather an large ‘Specification Room’ that was temporarily fitted with one rope and a set of a parallel bars for the men,[12] taught by Instructor Mr Hanley[13] who had earlier taken a special course in Swedish Drill, at the behest of the Board of Education.[14] Drill, marching and country dancing were all the indoor activities that the women had,[15] and when it came to the appointment of their instructress the Sub-Committee resolved ‘to make enquires as to whether her services could be utilised in the Borough in other directions’.[16] Miss Lily Dunn was duly selected and began duties on 1 November 1908, which, alongside her role at the College, were to include teaching physical exercises at Crewe County Secondary School as well as ‘such classes in Physical Education that the Committee may direct’.[17]

Being temporarily situated in the centre of Crewe meant that playing fields had to be rented on the outskirts of town, as evidenced in the Training College Sub-Committee (TCSC) minutes from 1908, which note a resolution to rent two playing fields on the ‘corner of Sydney Road at a cost of £5 each from a Mr Richards of Crewe Green, for the use of the male students during their football season.[18] This arrangement was repeated up to and including the winter season of 1911.[19] Permission was also given for the purchase, ‘not exceeding £30’, of a moveable pavilion to be erected on the playing fields for the use of the men.[20] The female students had no such luxury afforded to them, having to be content with the use of the recreation grounds connected with the nearby Ruskin Secondary School, for the ‘practice and playing of hockey, where and when possible’[21] and sometimes a share of the football pitch, when not required by the male students.[22]

The fledgling teams of the early days of the College played matches against secondary schools, local clubs and other colleges, travelling to away matches by train, horse drawn wagonette or bicycle.[23] Unfortunately, there are no records of matches played in the College archives during these early years[24] but a number of reports of various games played can be found in the local press including; football matches in 1909 and 1910 against Old Wittonians and St Johns School Whitchurch, CCTCC drawing 2 all[25] and winning 7-2[26] respectively. In 1908 the ‘Ladies of Winnington Park were at home to the Ladies of Crewe Training College’, who were late in arriving and as ‘it seemed very likely that the light would go before the game could be completed, a couple of minutes of time was deducted from each half’. The home team were reported to have held their own against the visitors and eventually won the game 3-1, which was deemed a very creditable performance.[27] What must have been one of the last matches played while the students were still housed in the MI was against a visiting side from Manchester Day College, the Crewe team being victorious 2-0.[28] Many other matches and sports were played, as made obvious by the various memoirs of ex-students, who recalled their days at the ‘old Coll’. in the 1929 Coming of Age issue of the Old Student Association (OSA) magazine.[29]

Life on campus

Meanwhile, construction of permanent college buildings in nearby Crewe Green were well advanced and by June of 1911, Mr Beswick, the County Architect, informed the TCSC that the time had arrived when the levelling and formation of the playing fields needed to be undertaken. The final decision regarding the position and number of pitches and courts had to be made in order that work could commence.[30] The eventual layout, shown in Figure 1 below, had three and a half acres allocated to the recreation of the male students, a football pitch and cricket ground on land behind the gymnasium and tennis courts and lawns to the side of the main education block. However, this amount of land was not agreed upon without some disquiet, when in February 1908, a row broke out at the monthly meeting of the Cheshire Education Committee. The Higher Education Board proposed the purchase of an additional two acres of land for use of the male students, to add to the previously agreed acreage. At a relatively high cost of £605 per acre Professor Gonner, Chair of the Education Committee, demanded to be informed as to the purpose of the extra land. The Board felt that enough land should be available for the men to play football and rugby simultaneously, they did not ‘consider it possible to play on just one ground’. Laughter greeted this statement in the committee room with Professor Gonner, in opposing the motion, stating that he did not know of any public school in the country that provided accommodation for both association and rugby football ‘so neither should Cheshire’.[31] However, the extra land was eventually purchased and the hired fields on the corner of Sydney Road dispensed with.[32]

Figure. 1. Architect Plan of the layout of the grounds of Cheshire County Training College, Crewe. .[33]

The female students were provided with one and a half acres of land, which was to comprise of a spacious lawn, ornamental flower gardens, a small hockey pitch[34] and tennis courts, all situated close to their hostel.[35] The hopes of the women to have two Fives Courts were dashed early on when the TCSC decided on glasshouses for botanical and horticultural work instead.[36] At one point, the idea was mooted that perhaps the land proposed for the men’s cricket pitch at the rear of the College be assigned to the female students as a full size hockey pitch.[37] However, in a sign of the times, Mr Beswick reported that he had interviewed the College Principal, Mr Delaney, in regard to the latter’s notion of building a wall, not only between the drill grounds in front of the gymnasium but also between the now two proposed playing fields. The purpose of the wall being to keep the female students respectable and sheltered from the male gaze while in pursuit of their sporting endeavours. Mr Beswick believed such a wall was a superfluous and expensive folly. Mr Delaney, however, partly won the day when it was resolved that a wall between the drill grounds would be constructed but at the expense of the larger hockey pitch.[38]

The exodus across Crewe to the new permanent buildings and associated grounds began in June 1912[39] with the campus being officially opened on 5 July 1912.[40] The playing fields and gardens were not completely laid out but, under the guidance of the head-gardener, Mr Ravenscroft, student volunteers assisted with the work and soon it became possible to play hockey, cricket, football and tennis within the College boundaries.[41] The new gymnasium, together with the employment of instructress Miss Mary Altham who trained under the methods of the famous Madam Österberg at Dartford Physical Training College,[42] meant that female students now had a more varied indoor exercise regime,[43] including Ling’s Swedish gymnastic system[44] as taught at Dartford and although Miss Altham would have come into contact with the relatively new sport of netball, there is no evidence that the sport was played at CCTCC until the 1930s.[45]

Games against old rivals soon recommenced on the improved and enlarged facilities and with the ability to host matches on Wednesdays and Saturdays[46] the College teams could entertain many new opponents, from colleges in Manchester to local clubs and works teams, such as those representing the various workshops at the local railway yard. These all contributed to a rapid growth in football, hockey, cricket and tennis on campus.[47]

Figure. 2. Cheshire County Training College, female hostel, with hockey pitch and tennis courts..[48]

The 1912/13 hockey season saw a number of matches arranged for the women of the First XI, who travelled by train to Manchester and together with the Second XI, endured a very cold journey by brake[49] to Northwich, as well as matches against local school teams from Crewe and Nantwich.[50] However, for various reasons, including the problem of a constantly waterlogged pitch,[51] several of the games were cancelled; of the rest, the College team won eight and lost three. The editor of the student magazine noted that the Crewe team were ‘decidedly the superior side’ in a close 1-0 win against the Old Students of Northwich High School, but that a slow game, ‘partly owing to the very small ball’ was played against Wincham College, which resulted in the first loss of the season. The Second XI played five matches against Northwich High School, Crewe Secondary School and Chester Ladies; of those it was reported that the game against Chester was the hardest of the season, the visitors being a ‘stronger and more practiced team’. The game ended in a 3-0 defeat for Crewe. With the new campus came novel facilities such as dedicated dining and common rooms, which allowed the students to host a post-match tea for visiting teams, followed by singing and dancing.[52]

The male students were able to regularly field both First and Second football XIs during this season, the teams playing twenty-five and seventeen matches respectively, with the match reports in the student magazine being of a more elaborate and descriptive nature than those of the female hockey endeavours. The footballers travelled as far as Manchester to play against the Technical College, the Fallowfield pitch being rated as the best played on, resulting in a fast, open game that saw the Crewe students dominate their opponents, winning 4-1. The November game against the visiting Manchester Training College was the most keenly anticipated match of the season. Unfortunately ‘a heavy fall of snow and the intense cold towards the end of the game considerably inconvenienced the players’, and the match ended with honours even, followed by an enjoyable evening of ‘musical items and dancing’. Games were also played against other Colleges, such as Chester, school teams from Newcastle, Nantwich and Winsford as well as works and church-based teams including Chester YMCA, Nantwich Wednesday, Chester Wednesday, Crewe General Offices, and Northwich Church Lads.[53] The men played rugby but not as often as football, with no reports existing of games in the student magazine and just one newspaper report in 1913, where the College team had ‘played a return friendly to the Old Victorians’ under the banner of the Northern Rugby League.[54]

During 1913, the swimming enthusiast, second year student Clifford Goss, took on the responsibility of forming a college swimming club and ‘induced’ several male and female students to form a life-saving class. Students travelled, usually by bicycle, to Nantwich Baths to undergo practice and ultimately two men obtained the Proficiency Certificate of the Royal Life Saving Society. It was also hoped that an aquatic gala could be held during the Summer.[55]

The 1913/14 academic year saw the cricket team have the most successful in college history, losing only one game from the seven played,[56] with a notable victory against an experienced team of men representing Crewe Railway Station.[57] Along with an improvement of the pitch, situated on the football ground, interest in the game had ‘greatly increased’ and it was hoped that the present members of the College would carry this keen interest forward to make the following season an even greater success. The good wickets found on the new pitch made home matches an experience ‘appreciated by all’, thus enabling college cricket to ‘have progressed another step’.[58] A heavy roller, at a cost of £7, to help improve the quality of the pitch, had been agreed to by the Sub-Committee before the start of the season proper.[59]

Figure. 3. Cheshire County Training College Cricket XI, 1915.[60]

The female students enjoyed a good tennis season, their early practice games made a lot easier once the funds had been agreed for netting to be erected around the perimeter of the courts.[61] However, when later in the spring of 1914 the surface of the courts began to deteriorate, the request for resurfacing was deferred by the TCSC, although the students were placated with an order for the ‘required nets and poles’ being agreed.[62]

During the early months of 1914, the swimming club, ‘with no man, who is conspicuously enthusiastic’, was in danger of folding. It was decided that it was too much to expect ‘one man alone’ to carry out club affairs, and so a committee, exclusively made up of men was formed. Land-drill classes were undertaken in the college gymnasium,[63] with many of the men reported as performing these exercises exceedingly well. Arrangements were made with Nantwich Swimming Club for the members of the College to join the Club and, it was hoped that during the ‘swimming term’ large numbers of men and women would ‘wheel their way to Nantwich’.[64]

The War years

As 1914 progressed, the students became increasingly aware of the ‘overhanging cloud whose gloom makes itself felt on ourselves and everything around us’.[65] The effects of the War on college sport soon became apparent and subsequently reflected in the retrospectives on both the hockey and football seasons. The men, who eagerly awaited their September kick-off, found that the number of matches was considerably reduced, games being cancelled owing to many opposition players enlisting.[66] Similarly, the secretary of the female hockey team commented,

Living in such troublous (sic) times as these, we can hardly expect to have a perfect season. There was the greatest difficulty in getting matches. Fixtures, for almost all Saturdays and Wednesdays in the season, were arranged months ago, but to our dismay, our opponents wrote one by one to cancel fixtures. But in spite of the lack of matches, we have enjoyed our hockey. Practices are almost, if not quite, as enjoyable as matches, and they are made most interesting by arranging such games as Seniors v. Juniors, Blondes v. Brunettes, The aged females v. the infants.[67]

Under the circumstances of the times, the Principal’s recommendation in respect of the male students to carry out provisional Military Drill as part of the curriculum was approved by the Sub-Committee,[68] and in this connection Mr Coulson, the Physical Exercise instructor, undertook a Certificate of Efficiency as an instructor of ‘Physical Training and Drill: HM Army’. [69] A notable achievement for the men’s football team occurred when student Sydney Pitt was given a trial for Crewe Alexandra in their Good Friday match against Everton. The collegian was reported as doing ‘remarkably well in the forward ranks and it was due to his efforts that the Alexandra won by a single goal’.[70]

As the war developed, male students under military age[71] were encouraged to finish their course before enlisting; later, they left as soon as they were of military age. The first student to request to suspend his students was George Gleave, a member of the cricket and football teams, who enlisted in the Army Air Corp in October 1915.[72] In November 1915, the Principal’s monthly report submitted to the TCSC, stated that eleven male students had left the College to join the Armed Forces and the Committee resolved that those men who left at half-term be charged half a terms fee.[73] Gradually, as the demands of the services increased, more men enlisted until ‘before long the college was practically one for women only, except for a few men, rejects from the services’.[74] In fact, over the course of the War the number of men enrolling in the College declined so drastically (see Table 1), that by as early as 1916 male team sports became impracticable.[75]

At the December meeting of the Sub-Committee, letters were read from several male staff members, including Mr Coulson, stating their intention to attest for service in the Army Reserve Corp. The opinion of the Committee was that these men were indispensable for the carrying on of the educational work of the Training College and this was to be conveyed to the local Tribunal, with an application to be made for their exemption from Military Service.[76]

Table 1. Number of male and female students enrolled at CCTCC [1912-1920] [77]

The steadily increasing number of women students enrolling at the College supported the growing regiments of male students serving in the forces. This was achieved by developing a kind of college home front on campus and they soon found many of their sporting endeavours replaced by knitting parties and the preparation and despatching of parcels to every serving man student whose unit could be traced.[78] Carried out under the auspices of the Red Cross and supervised by Mrs Delaney, the principal’s wife, the female students helped in every way possible.[79] In addition to studying and teaching practice, all available students worked with Mrs Delaney for much of their recreation time; a party travelled to Dorset to spend a summer holiday flax-pulling, others went fruit-picking or undertook clerical work for the Food Control Board.[80] These activities were just several of the ways in which the women students of the College ‘strove to help the nation its crisis’.[81]

Figure. 4. Cheshire County Training College Hockey Team, 1914-15 [82]

The editor of the 1916 student magazine reported that the women’s hockey teams had had a successful season, the record of which was posted in the Sports section, which ‘is of necessity very small in this number as there has been no football whatever this term. Everybody is now awaiting with eagerness the coming of the tennis season’.[83] The actual report included detailed match results, showing that the First XI had won all their matches bar one, a draw against the smaller opponents of Crewe Secondary School, and ended by noting that the Second Xl were ‘not so successful as the first team’.[84] Unfortunately, a copy of the magazine for later that term no longer exists and with local newspapers not reporting on any tennis matches, a retrospective of the eagerly awaited season cannot be commented upon.

By mid-1917, with the men being ‘very few in number, much of the tradition of the College and many of its institutions relied upon the women for support’.[85] On the sporting field the hockey team were described as having a singularly successful season, with both the First and Second teams not losing a match.[86] Some very hard games were played, with many trips to away fixtures being arduously long, a particular journey to Wincham Hall College, Northwich, taking almost three hours by train and road, including a change at Lostock Graham station, although the students were very pleased to ‘all be able to sit in the same carriage’ for the whole journey.[87] A few weeks later a match arranged against the Old Students was cancelled as due to the ‘great advancement in railway fares eleven old students could not be prevailed upon to pay us a visit’. As in the previous season, many practice matches were undertaken, including, ‘day girls against hostel girls’, the losers to provide themselves and their antagonists with cake. The women were congratulated for the great enthusiasm shown towards the end of term when the attractions of tennis and the trials of teaching practice provided other interests.[88] The tennis team were almost as successful, losing just one match of the six played. The matches were a contest of nine separate singles games with no double’s games reported on. The competition came from Crewe Secondary School, the Old Girls’ and local clubs, such as Haslington, Alsager and Weston Lane.[89]

There was always much made of the news of male students serving abroad, with female students spending a lot of their recreation time tracing and writing to serving ex-students and encouraging them to share their news with the readers of the student magazine. The editor of the magazine later reported that ‘the general tone of the letters which have been received is typical – cheerful almost to the verge of recklessness’.[90]

Although the pressure on women was less demanding, there was an expectation that they too should support the War Effort in whatever ways were most suitable, and at the beginning of 1918, the students were saddened to hear that Miss Altham, [91] had her ‘sanction’ for leave from college, to commence duties with the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps [WAAC], approved by the Sub-committee.[92] To the considerable chagrin of the Principal, she had still not been replaced by the end of the year.[93]

Despite the lack of a qualified instructress, the female students continued with their hockey season, maintaining the standards established by Miss Altham, winning all six matches played. In December, the match played against a team of Old Students was chiefly composed of Seniors, but, once again, travel difficulties prevailed and the single match arranged for the Second XI was cancelled owing to the unsatisfactory state of the away team’s grounds. The report finished with a message to the Juniors exalting them to be ‘even more successful next season, than we have been this’.[94]

With the return of the men students from the Armed Forces the College started to regain its normal appearance.[95] However, there was a certain hiatus before a full-scale revival of male sport was observed, particularly as some of the men who died on the battle field playing ‘the game with straight backs’, were the same men who had distinguished themselves and the College on the football and cricket field.[96] By the end of 1918 the student magazine proudly proclaimed that, from the sixteen men on campus a team had been formed that ‘once more gained for College a high reputation in the football World. Up to the time of writing we hold an unbeaten record and our hopes are high of maintaining that record’. The first proper match since the end of hostilities was played at home against Crewe Secondary School and the men were anxious as to how the team was going to ‘shape up’ but the result was a slightly disappointing draw. The return fixture a few weeks later, saw the College ‘wiping out the disgrace of not winning the first match’, with a 6-2 victory. In a sad reminder of the times, the match against Sandbach Grammar School was cancelled due to an outbreak of influenza at the school.[97] The secretary ended his review by thanking Miss Gillett, head of the domestic staff in the male dining room, for ably providing refreshments, often at very short notice.[98] As before the War, descriptions of the football matches were detailed, filling over two pages compared to the single column afforded the women’s hockey notes.

The tennis season, although not as successful as could have been wished, was nonetheless, very enjoyable. The team consisted of six senior women students, with juniors helping to referee matches. Only a few competitions were held against outside opponents, those being Alsager Tennis Club and Crewe Secondary School, both resulting in a loss for the College. Other matches involved contests between seniors and juniors, as well as an Old Students team and finally a series of male student against female student encounters.[99] These sporting events were typical of the engagement of students between 1908 and 1918, activities which continued and indeed flourished into the interwar period and beyond.


The sporting traditions of CCTCC were established from the very early days, when, despite being under constrained circumstances in the MI, students were keen to participate in the sporting arena. The athletic endeavours of these early students resulted in the formation of many clubs and sports teams, which in turn stimulated much interest in football, cricket, hockey and tennis. The disparity in which the sport of each sex was viewed and played was, however, also evident from the beginning, with playing fields readily hired for the male players whereas the female students were required to share recreation grounds with local schools or wait until their male counterparts had completed their football games before being permitted to use the pitch.

This state of affairs was to continue even after the College had moved to its own specifically constructed campus. The segregation between sexes, prevalent in society at that time, was manifested not only in the extent of the grounds that was afforded to each gender but also in the use of those areas. The male students were allocated three and a half acres for football, rugby, cricket and tennis, while the women had one and a half acres of land, on which there was a small hockey pitch and tennis courts, with the remainder of the ground being laid to ornamental gardens and lawns.

Further inequalities can be detected in the attitudes of the TCSC when dealing with requests from the College for sporting equipment or maintenance, with no hesitation in awarding funds for instance, to buy a roller for the ground staff to keep the cricket pitch in order but the female students had to wait almost a year for their tennis courts to be surrounded by netting. Even the student magazine allowed more than three times as many column inches when reporting male athletic endeavours compared to those of the females.

With the War raging, the College rapidly emptied of its leading and most enthusiastic athletes and consequently male sport diminished to a point of complete cessation by late 1916. As a result, the women students found that recognition of their own sporting endeavours slowly shifted from the periphery to the centre of the field, in a reflection of the broader opportunities afforded to their sex because of the War.

It should be noted that the women students at the College tended to participate in what were regarded as acceptable female sports, such as tennis, hockey and swimming, as well as activities like gymnastics and country dancing. Football, although increasingly played by young working-class women towards the end of World War One, would not have been considered appropriate for college students aiming for middle-class occupations like teaching and, therefore, the women of CCTCC would not have entertained the prospect of donning football boots.


This chapter explored the sporting experiences of the students at CCTCC during the decade that encompassed the final years of La Belle Époque. Material from the College archives, historical newspapers and Education Committee minutes were interrogated to highlight the collective sporting priorities and opportunities available to both male and female students, although it should be noted at this stage that the archives are incomplete. From the documents that do survive, it is apparent that the experiences of the women in CCTCC, with respect to participation in sport, mirrored that of gender expectations in wider society during the period in question. Generally, women found themselves restricted in terms of time, space and resources, when compared to men, and for female students at the College this was not only demonstrated by the unequal distribution of sporting finances and facilities but also in a comparative low visibility with regards to sport reporting in the student magazine. Nonetheless, the women played with a zeal and enthusiasm, which they maintained throughout the War years, displaying a collegiality that was also a characteristic of their male counterparts. Future work will include a deeper biographical analysis of this cohort of students, to uncover their individual war experiences and career trajectories as well as any long-term involvement in physical education and sport.




[1]Keith Evans, The Development and Structure of the English Education System, (Kent: Hodder and Stoughton, 1985), 117.

[2] Stanley J. Curtis and Myrtle E. A. Boultwood, An Introductory History of English Education Since 1800, (Cambridge: University Tutorial Press, 1970), 375.

[3] Harold C. Dent, The Training of Teachers in England and Wales 1800-1975 (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1977), 59-60.

[4] Derek Gillard, A History of Education in England, 2018 (accessed April 15, 2019).

[5] Margaret Roberts and Sarah Webb, ‘Women Educating Cheshire in the 20th Century’ (lecture, ManMetUni, Crewe Campus, April 3, 2018); Nora Grisenthwaite and Eleanor M. Reader, The College in the Green Fields: The Story of Crewe College of Education 1908-1974, (Crewe College of Education Publication, 1974), 3.

[6] ‘Cheshire Training College, Temporary Premises Open at Crewe’, Crewe Guardian, September 16,1908, 4.

[7] Nora Grisenthwaite and Eleanor M. Reader, The College in the Green Fields: The Story of Crewe College of Education 1908-1974, (Crewe College of Education Publication, 1974), 2.

[8] CCTCC Student Register [1908-1931], Sport and Leisure History Research Archive, MMU Cheshire.

[9] Robert Delaney, ‘Retrospect’, Souvenir of the 21st Anniversary, (CCTCC Publication, 1929), np.

[10] Henry J. Dickenson, ‘The Good Old Days’, Old Students Association: Coming of Age, 1929, 34-36.

[11] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, April 14, 1913; The documents held within the College archives are sparse for the early years but a copy of a college prospectus from 1913/14 notes that students’ clubs were managed entirely by their own committees, with a member of staff as treasurer. The annual subscription was 10/- for women and 15/- for men, which covered football, hockey, tennis, magazines and occasional grants to other recreations, such as dancing as well as payments for transport, where needed, to away matches. This prospectus was a duplication of those used in previous years, with minor alterations to term dates, as noted in the above referenced minutes.

[12]Mrs Greenfield, Some Aspects of Physical Education at CCTCC, Private Papers circa 1932; the Specification Room at the MI was noted as being 46 feet by 21 feet in size.

[13] CCTCC Staff Register (1908-1959).

[14] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, July 22, 1908.

[15] Marion Stubbs, ‘In the Beginning’, OSA Magazine, 1972. 29

[16] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, July 22, 1908.

[17] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, October 19, 1908.

[18] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, September 21, 1908; ‘Cheshire Education’, Cheshire Observer Saturday 19 December 19, 1908, 4.

[19] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, April 19, 1911.

[20] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, October 28, 1908.

[21] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, May 17, 1909.

[22] Marion Stubbs, ‘In the Beginning’, OSA Magazine, 1972. 29.

[23] Nora Grisenthwaite and Eleanor M. Reader, The College in the Green Fields: The Story of Crewe College of Education 1908-1974, (Crewe College of Education Publication, 1974), 8.

[24] The College archives contain two named pictures of the CCTCC female hockey first XI from the years 1909 and 1910, so clearly teams were engaging with the game; In addition, the archives contain a letter received in 1985 from a Mr James Hibbert informing the College of the death, at 91, of his mother Mrs Sybil Hibbert, nee Booth. His letter recalled how his mother often spoke, with pride, at being goalkeeper and captain of the College hockey team while she was a student as part of the 1909/11 cohort.

[25] ‘Sport’, Northwich Guardian, December 4, 1909, 5.

[26] ‘Football’, Shrewsbury Chronicle, November 18, 1910, 4.

[27] ‘Winnington Ladies Register Another Win’, Northwich Guardian, November 13, 1909, 6.

[28] ‘Ladies Hockey’, Manchester Courier and Lancaster General Advertiser, February 1, 1912, 2.

[29] Ernest K. Venables, ‘Greetings from Japan’, OSA: Coming of Age, 1929, 37; Salop, ‘Lines to the Men’s Common-Room’, OSA: Coming of Age, 1929, 29.

[30] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, June 26, 1911.

[31]‘Cheshire Education Committee’, Nantwich Guardian, February 12, 1909, 8.

[32] Anon., The Jubilee Book 1908-1958, (CCTCC, Publication, 1958), 7.

[33] Sport and Leisure History Research Archive, MMU Cheshire.

[34] ‘News of Old Students’, The Torch, 1957, 30; Board of Education, Report of Inspection of Cheshire County Training College, Crewe, 1931-32, 17. This inspection noted that the playing field (which was the same space as in 1912), was ’small and does not allow for a full size hockey pitch, being about 20 yards too short and 10 yards to narrow’.

[35] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, June 26, 1911; TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, December 11, 1911; The female students were provided with accommodation on campus while the male students were housed in a series private houses in town, selected and approved by the TCSC.

[36] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, October 20, 1910.

[37] ‘News of Old Students’, The Torch, 1957, 30.

[38] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, December 11, 1911.

[39] Robert Delaney, ‘Retrospect’, Souvenir of the 21st Anniversary, (CCTCC Publication, 1929), np.

[40]‘Cheshire Training College’, Cheshire Observer, July 6, 1912, 3; ‘Cheshire Training College’, Nantwich Guardian, July 12, 1912, 3.

[41] Anon., The Jubilee Book 1908-1958 (CCTCC, Publication, 1958), 7.

[42] CCTCC Staff Register [1908-1959], Sport and Leisure History Research Archive, MMU Cheshire: Miss Altham was appointed in September 1911.

[43] Mrs Greenfield, Some Aspects of Physical Education at CCTCC, Private Papers circa 1932

[44] The Ling System was one of several methods of gymnastic instruction.

[45] Netball is not mentioned in the CCTCC archives until the 1931/2 Inspection of the College, where it was noted that the quadrangle used for women students is not large enough to hold a full-sized netball court.

[46] ‘Hockey Notes – Season 1914’, CCTCC Magazine, 1915, 3.

[47] Robert Delaney, ‘Retrospect’, Souvenir of the 21st Anniversary, (CCTCC Publication, 1929), np.

[48] Sport and Leisure History Research Archive, MMU Cheshire.

[49] A brake was a type of horse drawn carriage

[50] ‘Hockey Notes’, The Drift, March, 1913, 8.

[51] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, February 17, 1913; At this meeting it was resolved to undertake work to drain the excess surface water on the hockey pitch into the nearby Valley Brook.

[52] ‘Hockey Notes’, The Drift, March 1913, 8.

[53] ‘Football Notes’, The Drift, March 1913, 10-12; ‘Football Notes’, Cheshire Observer, October 18, 1913, 5; ‘Football’, Runcorn Guardian, September 23, 1913, 6.

[54] ‘Northern Rugby League’, Runcorn Guardian, September 2, 1913, 6.

[55] ‘Swimming’, CCTCC Magazine, 1915, 8; The proposed gala was never held.

[56] ‘Cricket Notes’, CCTCC Magazine, 1915, 2.

[57] ‘Cricket’, Chester Chronicle, June 14, 1914, 3.

[58] ‘Cricket Notes’, CCTCC Magazine, 1915, 2.

[59] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, April 20, 1914.

[60] Sport and Leisure History Research Archive, MMU Cheshire.

[61] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, April 14, 1913.

[62] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, May 18, 1914.

[63] Land drill exercises, in which students practiced swimming strokes on dry land, were carried out in the gymnasium at College.

[64] Aqua, ‘Swimming’, CCTCC Magazine, 1915, 8-9. The journey from CCTCC to Nantwich Baths would have been approximately 5 miles by bicycle in 1913.

[65] ‘Editorial’ CCTCC Magazine, 1915, 1; The editor Harold Redlar, fell at the Somme, his body never being recovered in the aftermath of the battle.

[66] ‘Football Notes’, CCTCC Magazine, 1915, 4.

[67] ‘Hockey Notes’, CCTCC Magazine, 1915, 3.

[68] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, January 15, 1915.

[69] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, January 15, 1915.

[70] ‘Crewe Alexandra’ Nantwich Guardian, April 9, 1915. 2; Sydney Pitt played for Crewe Alexandra for another few games before he left CCTCC at the end of his course.

[71] During the First World War, the legal age limit to sign up for military service was 18, and for armed service overseas it was 19. See

[72] As noted in the Student Register [1908-1931].

[73] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, November 26, 1915. The minutes further state that the one student who had left before half-term, namely George Gleave, was not to be charged any fee.

[74] Frederick F.Potter, Educational Journey: Memories of Fifty Years in Public Education, (London: Pitman, 1949). 79.

[75] As evidenced by the lack of any male team sports reports in the Student Magazines from late 1915 onwards.

[76] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, December 18, 1915; the other members of staff were Mr HV Davies, Science Master and Mr FF Potter, Mathematics Lecturer.

[77] CCTCC Student Register [1908-1931], Sport and Leisure History Research Archive, MMU Cheshire.

[78] ‘News of Former Students’, The Torch, 1965, 51: Robert Delaney, ‘Retrospect’, Souvenir of the 21st Anniversary, (CCTCC Publication, 1929), np.

[79] The Red Cross card for Mrs Delaney in respect of the students at the College, which notes that amount of time spent on knitting was ‘whole’, meaning as much time as possible.

[80] Anon., The Jubilee Book 1908-1958 (CCTCC, Publication, 1958), 8.

[81] Frederick F. Potter, Educational Journey: Memories of Fifty Years in Public Education, (London: Pitman, 1949). 79.

[82] Sport and Leisure History Research Archive, MMU Cheshire.

[83] ‘Editorial’, CCTCC Magazine, March 1916, 2.

[84] ‘Hockey’, CCTCC Magazine, 1916, 13.

[85] ‘Editorial’, CCTCC Magazine, July 1917, 2.

[86] ‘Easter Term, Hockey Notes’ CCTCC Magazine, 1917, 10-12.

[87] The same journey today would take half the time by rail and only 30 minutes by car.

[88] ‘Easter Term, Hockey Notes’ CCTCC Magazine, 1917, 10-12.

[89] ‘Tennis’, CCTCC Magazine, 1917, 12-13.

[90] ‘OSA Column, 1913-15,’ CCTCC Magazine, July 1917, 14.

[91] Miss Altham returned to CCTCC in 1920, resigning in 1923 to take up the post of Cheshire County Inspector of Schools for Physical Training.

[92] ‘Cheshire Training College’, Nantwich Guardian – Friday 11 January 1918, 6; TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, January 5, 1918.

[93] TCSC Minutes, Cheshire Education Committee, December 14, 1918; The Principal informing the committee that the appointment of an instructress for women was now a matter of extreme urgency.

[94] ‘Hockey Notes’. CCTCC Magazine, April 1919, 11.

[95] ‘Editorial’, CCTCC Magazine, April 1919, 2.

[96] CCTCC Magazine, Mid-Summer, 1919, 6.

[97] The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1920, was one of the greatest medical disasters of the 20th century. A global pandemic of an airborne virus which affected every continent. It has been estimated that over 50 million people died world-wide and a quarter of the British population were affected. The death toll was 228,000 in Britain alone. The global mortality rate is not known but estimated to have been between 10% to 20% of those who were infected. See

[98] ‘Football Notes’ CCTCC Magazine, April 1919, 11-12.

[99] Doris Maddocks, ‘Tennis Notes’, CCTCC Magazine, Mid-Summer 1919, 16.