The nineteenth century was a golden age in British sports. Not only were sports immensely popular, but they began to assume the forms and qualities that still characterise them today. Moreover, the latter part of the century saw a significant participation in sports by women, and this book provides the first overall examination of this early development and the social changes that it helped to bring about.
Since women’s entry into sports was chiefly a consequence of the campaign for better female education, the book begins with an account of sports at the Oxbridge women’s colleges, at the girls' public schools and at the new women’s physical training colleges. It then examines team sports such as hockey, lacrosse, and cricket and individual sports such as tennis, golf and cycling. Other chapters discuss the medical attitudes and prejudices toward women’s participation in sports and the role of sports in changing female dress.
"A truly outstanding achievement is Kathleen E. McCrone’s Sport and the Physical Emancipation of English Women, 1870-1914….From every point of view—thoroughness, insightfulness, inclusion of visual materials—this is a superb work." Allen Guttmann
"…a pioneering and competent study by Kathleen McCrone….There is a great deal of excellent material in Sport and the Physical Emancipation of English Women…[and] the author’s scholarship is impressive…." David Rubinstein, Victorian Studies
McCrone has produced an important book about an important subject, one that was long overdue." Susan Kingsley Kent, The Historian
"…a remarkable book, signifying a maturity of scholarship in the growing arena of women’s sport history." Patricia Vertinsky, International Journal of the History of Sport
1. Introduction 2. The ‘Lady Blue’: Sport and Exercise at Oxbridge Women’s Colleges 3. Sport, Exercise and the Public Schools Phenomenon 4. The Rise of the Physical Training Mistress 5. For the Sake of the Team: Hockey, Lacrosse and Cricket 6. Individual Sports: Lawn Tennis, Golf and Cycling 7. The Medical and Scientific Debate on Women’s Sport 8. Women’s Sport and Dress Reform 9. The Literature of Women’s Sport 10. Conclusion.