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This article is inspired by the research of the writer and journalist Pier Angelo Rossi, whose work was shared with The Hockey Museum by our Italian friends at HockeyLove.itRiccardo Giorgini and Luciano Pinna. 


Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the region of Liguria in north-western Italy witnessed an influx of British holidaymakers to its Mediterranean coast; an area that is known today as the Italian Riviera. In particular, the small city of Bordighera experienced an incredible tourist ‘colonisation’ during the winter months where as many as 3,000 wealthy Brits could be found outnumbering the local population of 2,000 inhabitants! Much of this tourism boom has been historically attributed to the publication of a book that enjoyed widespread popularity at the time: Doctor Antonio by John Ruffini (1855).

The Brits were not alone in appreciating the delights of Liguria’s Mediterranean coastline. It also attracted artists and a legacy of en plein air (outside) paintings by the Impressionist heavyweights Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. These survive to capture the brilliant light and allure of the region.

So, what of hockey?

It is from this period that the earliest known reference to hockey in Italy originates. As the British tourists ‘colonised’ the towns of Liguria, they brought their recreational pastimes with them.

Italy’s first hockey club was established in Bordighera by the British in late 1901. The Bordighera Hockey Club for men and ladies (i.e. mixed hockey) had a founding Committee made up of Miss Barclay, Miss Evans, Mr H H Evans, Mr H H Stack and Miss Woodhouse. Their ground, formally approved by the local council, was on the Cape of High Bordighera – the same area of the town captured by Monet in his 1884 painting which shows the cittá alta Bordighera (high city Bordighera) with the belltower of the church of Sant'Ampelio on the Cape visible through the trees.


Bordighera 1884 Claude Monet Art Institure of Chicago public domain

Bordighera, by Claude Monet 1884.

From the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Artwork is in the public domain.


Bordighera HC began playing on the clearing of the Cape twice a week. Whilst they hoped to attract Italians to join the club this didn’t really ever materialise. The locals didn’t take part in the new-born activity, considering it with curiosity and an ill-concealed cynicism at men and women playing together. The players were British as were most of the spectators, though Pier Angelo Rossi (in his article for the Journal de Bordighera) records how “other strangers and some locals enjoyed it [hockey] very much, especially when some strikes, instead of hitting the ball, reached some player’s shins.”


Bordighera c1900 courtesy of Pier Angelo Rossi

Bordighera, c.1900 with the belltower of the church of Sant'Ampelio, as visible in Claude Monet’s painting of 1884.

Images above and below courtesy of Pier Angelo Rossi.

Bordighera HC 01 c1902 courtesy of Pier Angelo Rossi
Bordighera HC, c.1901. The palm trees and the architectural arches of the buildings adjacent to the Cape clearing where the hockey match takes place are the same as in the above image.
Bordighera HC 02 c1902 courtesy of Pier Angelo Rossi
Bordighera HC in action, c.1901.


Bordighera HC’s first match was an inter-club mixed hockey game on an unspecified date in 1901. Rossi’s research reveals that the match was such a success that the two team’s players, swollen with pride, showed the desire to play a game against the English Club of Sanremo, just along the coast. The municipality of Bordighera was informed and the challenge between the two clubs was scheduled for February 1902.

The clubs would meet four times the following year with Bordighera never bettering Sanremo: 15 February 1902 (1-5); 22 February (1-3) and 9 April (0-5) and 17 April (1-1).


Bordighera Sanremo


Little is known about the first match. Of the second, the Journal de Bordighera is rich with information. The players for the Bordighera team were Mr Routh, Miss Lester, Miss Howard, Miss Rogers, Mr and Miss H H Evans, Miss Barclay and Mr H H Stack, Miss McConnell and Mr Woodhouse and Miss Hopton. After fifteen minutes a goal was scored by Mr Routh and the Bordighera HC supporters began to believe that they could win the match, but before the end of the first half the opponents drew level with a strong strike. In the second half, Sanremo scored two more goals to win. The Journal sportingly recognises, “In general, we can say that the Bordighera team were unlucky as two shots missed the net, but, on the other hand, it must be admitted that together the ability of the Sanremo team was justifiably rewarded by victory”.

The fourth match, played at Sanremo, is also worthy of report on account of its adverse (and horribly out-of-season) weather conditions – the British did not holiday abroad only to be met by their own foul weather!

“Not ten minutes in the teams ran in and out the quagmires, hitting seaweed mixed with mud and water into each other faces, their shoes sinking into wet sand quite oblivious of the rain that came down harder than ever … After half time the ground seemed to have get softer and the ball was more frequently lost in the morass having to be dug out by two excited figure who used their stick as a spoon and spattered each other’s faces as they clawed wildly at the annoying lumps of mud in which the ball had stuck … The 1-1 result was most creditable and the two teams heartily cheered each other before separating. Some thoughtful person pointed out a stream of water descending from a nearby roof and the combatants washed their hands and faces and hid the rest of themselves in rugs.”

Evidently, a lot of fun was had when hockey first came to Italy.

At this point the question is: which club was born first, Sanremo or Bordighera? It is tempting to consider Sanremo HC’s supremacy on the pitch as evidence of their being earlier established – but that may only mean that their players had superior technical skills. There is no earlier trace of an established hockey club in Sanremo among the newspapers of that time; hockey in Sanremo remains a mystery. In all probability, the English were playing just for fun and leisure for as long as it was possible, then everything unfortunately faded away.

We may never know which club came first. What is certain is that the first hockey match in Italy was played in the far west of Liguria near the border with France and that the birth of club hockey is attributed to both clubs, Bordighera and Sanremo.


Shane Smith,
Curator, The Hockey Museum

International Hockey Rules Board minute book

The International Hockey Rules Board minute book.

The book is held in the collection of The Hockey Museum on loan from the International Hockey Federation (FIH).


In March 1973 at its third meeting held in London, the International Hockey Rules Board approved a new rule introducing up to two substitutes for all levels of hockey.

The two substitutes rule of 1973 was introduced following extensive trials under the direction of the International Hockey Federation (FIH). These trials showed conclusively that substitutes, in events such as the World Cup and Olympic Games, were being introduced for tactical reasons rather than for injured players. The rule change meant that substitutes could now be used globally in club hockey.

Prior to the introduction of substitutes, if someone got injured during a hockey match then their team carried on with only 10 players!

The rule change 50 years ago paved the way for the ‘rolling subs’ of today. The rule allowing five rolling substitutes (allowing for a matchday squad of 16 players) was introduced in 1992.

pdfRead hockey journalist Pat Rowley's article on the introduction of substitutes in World Hockey magazine (April-June issue, 1973) by clicking the PDF icon to the right.

“Men have helped us in the past … until we are able to stand on our own legs, and we now look to them to encourage women to umpire. There is no doubt … that women will not trouble to learn to umpire as long as there is a man who will do it for them.”

Hockey Field and Lacrosse magazine, 1923.


On 9 February 1923, the All England Women's Hockey Association (AEWHA) held its first 'open meeting' on umpiring. 13 Counties were present as well as representatives from the USA!

The meeting afforded an opportunity to critique the activity of the newly formed (in 1921) AEWHA Sub-committee for Umpiring. Two of the women who spoke at the meeting, Frances Heron Maxwell (then AEWHA President) and Vera Cox (AEWHA Secretary), were feminist hockey and cricket pioneers determined to inspire women to take up umpiring!

Discussions took place between male and female attendees about offside, on the training of umpires and the differences between women's and men's hockey rules. Specific points were brought to life with demonstrations and photography.

One notable result of the meeting was the creation of the first national Umpires’ Register (distinct from the Register for men) and the arranging of formal umpire training for women. Men were not to be barred from umpiring women’s hockey by the creation of the Register, but it was felt that women should be empowered to learn to umpire for themselves, not least because, in those days, some of the rules for the men's and the women’s games were different.


Joyce Hatton Vera Cox and Frances Heron Maxwell colourised

Hockey pioneers Vera Cox (centre) and Frances Heron Maxwell (known as Max; right).
Originally a black-and-white photograph, this image was colourised for a talk at The Hockey Museum in 2022.

Below: the AEWHA Presidents' honours board featuring Mrs Heron Maxwell.
FromThe Hockey Museum collection.

AEWHA President Board


Instructional films for umpires

The AEWHA were early innovators in the use of film as an instructional tool. This was a progressive evolution of their use of still photography to bring to life match-play situations, as used in the 'open meeting' on umpiring in 1923. The digitised cine-film shown below is from The Hockey Museum’s collection. It offers advice for female umpires and was created in the early 1930s.


“Kingston School maintained their unbroken record on their own ground by defeating Staines. During the first half, Staines pressed continually and scored three goals. The School forwards, on the other hand, did not seem able to play together, and only succeeded in getting one goal (Shoveller). At half time the score was 3-1 in favour of Staines and on re-starting, Staines quickly scored again. Now, however, the School forwards began to get together and played up hard to the end of the match, making the second half six goals to Staines’s two. Thus, the School won a most enjoyable game by 7-5. Goals for School by Logan (5), Shoveller (2). Goals for Staines by H Green (2), A Playford (2), Eric Green.”

Kingston Grammar School
Goal, E Parr; backs, J Bessell, T Walker; half-backs, H Doherty, J W Philipson, P Parr; forwards, N Nightingale, H Kershaw, G Logan, S H Shoveller, E King.

Staines Hockey Club
Goal, M J Allen; backs, H S Freeman, L Green; half-backs, Erle Green, H Blount, F Hunt; forwards, M Griffin, A Playford, H Greene, N Reid, Eric Green.

From The Times newspaper, 1898.


Reflecting on the match 125 years later

On 12 February 1898, a hockey match took place in Kingston, then in the County of Surrey now the London Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames. The match is notable for several reasons, not the least of which is for a school team to be playing a club side.

Bear in mind that this was barely two decades after hockey had started up as an organised sport and only two years after England had played its first international match. To think that a school team could take on and beat a club side speaks volumes for the stature of hockey at Kingston Grammar School (KGS), a situation that continued for most of the twentieth century.

In those far off days, a century and a quarter ago, Staines were one of the nation’s strongest hockey clubs. In the early 1900s they famously went several seasons without defeat. So, KGS were playing one of the best opponents around. The reason that they beat Staines can probably be found in their team list. Kingston may have only been schoolboys but their team contained two players in Gerald Logan and Stanley Shoveller (16 years old in February 1898) who went on to win gold medals at the London Olympic Games of 1908. They would go on to play for Hampstead Hockey Club who were one of Staines’s strongest opponents during the pre-WW1 era.

It is unlikely that The Times correspondent, or indeed anyone else at the match that day, would have thought that four of those playing would become Olympic gold medallists a decade on. In addition to Logan and Shoveller, the Staines team contained international players, two of whom (Eric Green and Harry Scott Freeman) also went on to Olympic success.


Harry Scott Freeman        Stanley Shoveller artwork

Left: Staines HC's England international Harry Scott Freeman.
Right: Kingston Grammar School's England international Stanley Shoveller.

Photograph and artwork from The Hockey Museum collection.

England women vs France action shot 3 February 1923
An action shot of England women vs France on 3 February 1923.

Image from the Marjorie Pollard collection, The Hockey Museum.


100 years ago on 3 February 1923, England women played their first international match against France. The game was played at Merton Abbey, Battersea and Chelsea Polytechnic Ground, South London in front of a 2,500-strong crowd and is notable for two things: the very one-sided scoreline and the sporting fashions of the teams.

England put in a commanding performance to beat France 23-0, but the report and photographs of the game suggest an unexpected twist! Not only were the French players fabulously adorned with winter berets – worn even during the match and presumably secured in place with hat pins! – but there is mention of a distinct disadvantage caused by the length of their skirts. It seems this fashion faux paus caused them to run slower than their English opponents!

Intrigued, we dived into our collection and, lo and behold, the team photographs confirm that the English pinafores finished above the knee whereas the French skirts definitely hung below. How much that impacted the French stride to account for a 0-23 loss we will leave to your imagination.

Skirts and scores aside, we’re still most captivated by the elegant berets!


France women vs England 0 23 3 February 1923 Hilda Light scrapbook AEWHA Collection Uni of Bath

Above: French team photograph for the match vs England, 3 February 1923.
Below: English team photograph for the match vs France, 3 February 1923.

From the Hilda Light scrapbook, All England Women's Hockey Association Collection, University of Bath Archive.

England women vs France 23 0 3 February 1923
1908 Olympic Final England vs Ireland
England vs Ireland during the Olympic final of 1908.


In January 1948, Hockey World magazine published an extract from the book Hockey in Ireland by TSC Dagg. In it, Dagg compares the ‘traditional’ playing styles of the English and Irish men’s national teams by drawing on previous literature.

Eustace E White wrote in 1909:

“Combination, a scientific and premeditated combination, has always been … the keynote of the English style [of hockey], just as individual effort and reliance on personal brilliance and dash have formed the chief part of the Irish game.”

England’s prolific forward Stanley Shoveller wrote in 1922:

“The more unified and methodical methods of an English team have often been completely upset by the hustle and bustle, dash and devil, hard-hitting, and wing-to-wing play of their Irish opponents”.

The contrasting styles of the two national teams provide a tantalising insight into how hockey was played at the turn of the twentieth century. Conceivably clichéd, it does not suggest the Irish approach was inferior but different. Their style seems reasonably simple to grasp: a lot of individualism, athleticism and “dash”. But what of England’s preference for ‘combination’?



Ireland vs England Birmingham 1923 courtesy Irish Hockey Archive

The Ireland men's team who played England in Birmingham, 1923.

Courtesy of the Irish Hockey Archive.



What Is Combination?

A well-used term in its day but perhaps alien to the modern ear, combination appears to have heralded the beginning of position-based tactical play in hockey and – heaven forbid – passing the ball between teammates! It stood as a marked difference from the “hustle and bustle”, “personal brilliance” and charging wing to wing in search of the ball that appears to have been the preferred style of the Irish.

There is a section dedicated to combination in the 1899 book Hockey: Historical and Practical by PA Robson and J Nicholson Smith.

“[Previously] hockey… [was] exclusively a dribbling game. The player who happened to have the ball kept it … as long as he could … without passing the ball to another player on his own side … For the past two seasons however [1896-1898], a desire to change has been made in hockey. [The] combination game is becoming more and more known.”

Within the same page there is also a fascinating (if amusingly old-fashioned) notion that adopting a combination style of play required greater discipline:

“The captain must have his eyes constantly on the watch to keep the men of his side in their places. There should be no compromise. The temptation may be strong in a wing player to rush to the opposite wing because there seems a chance of doing useful work, but it must be checked. Laxness in this respect is the source of many defeats and every offence of the kind should be at once noticed and the offender rebuked. If a player continues to offend the best plan is to leave him out of the team ‘til he learns to obey. He may urge many grounds in defence of his excess of zeal but the principle is wrong.”

It would seem combination was a key evolution leading to the position-based game of coached systems that we play today. Perhaps the Irish style – seemingly one player running with the ball, chased around by players (of both sides) trying to get something on the ball – might even have been more fun.

What a varied game international hockey must have been in its formative decades, even if the early 1900s were a busy time to be a hockey captain with all the reprimanding!


A Nod to the Library

All books mentioned reside in The Hockey Museum’s fascinating and ever-growing library. If this tickles your fancy, research visits are available by appointment.

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In these days of global warming and only occasional flurries of snow in winter, it perhaps seems unbelievable that it could start snowing on Boxing Day and for the frost and snow to remain for nearly three months! That is what happened in the (real) winter of 1962-‘63.

Today, water-retaining artificial pitches freeze overnight but are often thawed by the late morning sun, yet in the winter of 1962-’63 the grass hockey pitches of the nation were covered in snow and ice all day long for week after week after week.

What follows is the story of enterprising hockey players in the North-East of England and what they did to ensure the playing of our sport during that amazing winter.

This chapter reproduced in full below is taken from The Book of Hockey: A Miscellany of Hockey Writings, edited by Patrick Rowley and published by Macdonald & Co., London in 1964. The article was penned by Gordon Wilkinson, then Secretary of County Durham Hockey Association.


The Book of Hockey 1964 03     The Book of Hockey 1964 01

The Book of Hockey: A Miscellany of Hockey Writings, edited by Patrick Rowley and published by Macdonald & Co., London in 1964. Copies of this book reside in The Hockey Museum's Library.


The Sands of Seaton Carew

It is January 1963, the whole of the region is buried under twelve inches of snow, and the weatherman gives no prospect of clearance for weeks to come. Groundsmen stand at the doors of their equipment sheds, gazing out over the bleak scene of unsullied white, at the goalposts standing silent, stark in the glistening, untrodden snow. The cutter and roller gather rust in the dark of the shed.

Match secretaries are weary of sending out cancellation notices; some do not even trouble to think of matches, and settle down to weekends of television, children and crossword puzzles. Players tramp gloomily around the house, kicking the dog, and smoking to excess. Wives, at first happy at the thought of having a man around the house on Saturday and Sunday, now wish for a break in the weather and the clearance of the snow, so that their better halves can get out and become human again.

Nearby, the wind from Russia whistles over the North Sea, whipping the wave crests into spattering white caps. The beach, washed by the tides, is the only strip of Britain clear of ice, frost and snow. The promenade is deserted save for a solitary figure clambering from the only car in the car park. He consults his watch and his tide tables. Soon his tasks will begin. The sea recedes as the tide sweeps south down the coast and the sand is left billiard-table smooth and glistening. A perfect canvas for the master's hand. The figure collects his equipment and, breasting the keening wind, steps on to the clear, smooth expanse. With measure, string and square and a large pointed stick, the grand design is drawn on the sand. Farther along the beach the same pattern is repeated – Jack Jemison, captain of Durham County Hockey Eleven and of Norton Hockey Club, has overcome the worst that winter could inflict on the hockey fraternity. Two pitches have been prepared for the early afternoon.

This was true, infectious enthusiasm. During that long, long winter of 62/63, the Norton club did not miss a single weekend's hockey. When distant clubs were daunted at the prospect of facing that wind off the North Sea, emergency calls went out and scratch elevens from neighbouring clubs in many combinations and permutations were hastily arranged. In the Norton clubhouse, boilers were lighted and water heated; doors were locked; players climbed into cars for the eight-mile ride to the sands at Seaton Carew, just north of the Tees mouth.

The deserted car park became alive with cars, players, ‘camp followers’, umpires shook dusty whistles, and tentative, joyous trial blasts competed with the shrill of the wind. After the cosy misery of Saturday firesides this was true, adventurous, wonderful hockey. The ball ran true and stick-work became somehow easy. The near-zero air made running necessary to keep warm; even the umpire sprinted up the wing ahead of the winger. Of course, those nearest the sea edge kept a close eye on-the advancing tide. It would be no great fun to find two or three inches of sea water lapping around the feet.

At half-time the game was switched to the second prepared pitch, a new surface unruffled and inviting.


Editor's note [Patrick Rowley]: Needless to say, the sands at Seaton Carew became the Mecca of Hockey in North-East England during that long winter.

Matches started as early as 11 am, and other odd hours, depending on the tide times. Even the Durham County Association took up the lead set by Jack Jemison and Norton Hockey Club. Three ‘A’ Eleven matches were successfully played on the same, ever new pitches. Norton, fit and in practice, did not lose a single match during that winter, and their goal average was astronomical.

There are few things in everyday life that could be described as ubiquitous hockey items. However, one exception are the canvas and rubber hockey shoes that were widely worn in the ladies and school game from the 1930s onwards. Men’s hockey of the era preferred the more substantial football or rugby boots.

Your 'scribe' remembers his father describing these canvas and rubber hockey shoes as “worse than useless” because they offered no real protection against a hard leather ball or wooden sticks. Nonetheless, they sold in vast numbers into the ladies and schools hockey markets where cost was an extremely critical factor. In those decades no sports shop could afford to be without these essential sellers.


Canvas and rubber hockey boots 1930s

Canvas and rubber hockey boots, 1930s.

From The Hockey Museum's collection.


Now fresh research has revealed perhaps their greatest claim to fame. During the Second World War (WW2) hockey boots were adopted and adapted for use in jungle warfare, embraced by the Chindits during the terrible fighting against the Japanese in the Burmese jungle (modern-day Myanmar).

Footwear in the jungle was always problematic. As recounted on the militaria blog Tales from the Supply Depot:

“Boots need to be tough to stand up to the rugged terrain, light for comfort, rot proof to prevent them falling apart too quickly and both waterproof for walking in rain showers and quick to dry when they do get soaked wading through swamps. Combining all these requirements in one design was clearly a tall order, however by the middle of World War Two it was clear that the standard British Army hobnailed boot was hopelessly unsuited for jungle wear.”

An official army training pamphlet of the time advised: “canvas and rubber-soled hockey boots (procurable in most tropical towns) are an efficient form of footwear".

The Chindits were long-distance special operations units of the British and Indian armies. They wore regular tropical uniforms and army boots, but were specially equipped for the Burmese jungle with Australian-style slouch hats, mosquito nets, machetes and rubber-soled hockey boots for scouting and silent marching. The success of the Chindits’ expeditions and raiding parties was pivotal to the Allied success in this theatre of the war.

A purpose-designed jungle boot was later created to replace its hockey forerunner. By the time of the Malayan Emergency in 1948 the British Army had introduced a canvas and rubber jungle boot. These continued in active service long after WW2 with the British, Australian and American forces.


Bata jungle boots 1940s 1950s

'Bata boots', colloquially named by soldiers after the Bata Shoe Company which produced them.

Image credit: from the collection of the author of the blog Tales from the Supply Depot.


Mike Smith
Hon. Curator

The I M Marsh campus of Liverpool John Moores University has a long history. The college was founded in 1900 by Irené Mabel Marsh under the name of Liverpool Physical Training College. From small beginnings the college grew over the years and by the 1960s I M Marsh College of Physical Education, as it was then known, was one of the pre-eminent and influential women’s PE colleges in the country with many international hockey players found among its student and lecturers. So, who was Irené Mabel Marsh and what is the origin story of this successful institution?


Irené Mabel Marsh

Born in December 1875 Irené Mabel was the third child of a Liverpool family of ten: four boys and six girls. Just like her other siblings, Irené was talented at games, gymnastics and swimming.

In 1892 Irené signed up for a two-year course at Southport Physical Training College. Here she proved to be an outstanding student and gained several awards including a first-class Certificate for Hygiene and Physiology along with the Diploma of the Southport Physical Training College. She was also successful in gaining a Diploma from the National Health Society and National Physical Recreation Society.


Irene M Marsh

Irené Mabel Marsh.

Courtesy of Liverpool John Moores University Archive.


In January 1887 Irené Marsh was appointed by Doctor Alexander Alexander to the post of Physical Director for Ladies to run classes for women and children at the YMCA in Liverpool. She was a visionary woman who understood the importance of physical education and physical exercise for everyone. Her vision was not limited to women and girls; she began to develop classes for boys up to the age of 10, as well as for the deaf and blind. She was ahead of her time with her inclusive ideals and as the numbers attending her classes increased, there was a need for more teachers. Where was she to get them?

Irené decided she would train teachers herself! Her first trainee teachers were Salomé, her sister, and a friend Muriel Peet who worked as her assistants. This was the genesis of her recognising the need to train her own teachers and it was the start of what would go on to become the I M Marsh College of Physical Education.


Small Beginnings

In 1900 Irené obtained her first property at 110 Bedford Street. With a training base she could call her own, her vision was now a reality and the Liverpool Physical Training College was founded. The second cohort of students were enrolled with Irené Marsh as the full-time member of staff with support of Salomé and Muriel, her first cohort trainees.



Liverpool Physical Training College at 110 Bedford Street.

Courtesy of Liverpool John Moores University Archive.


The course ran for two years. The first known prospectus in 1908 had an amazing range of subjects: anatomy; ambulance; remedial gymnastics; physiology; massage; pathology; hygiene; drilling; sick nursing; educational gymnastics; cricket; badminton; hockey; hand ball; tennis; rounders; lacrosse; goal-ball; fencing; rowing; basket-ball; vigoro (a cross between cricket and tennis); children's games; swimming, lifesaving; and dancing. Facilities for games and swimming were hired away from Bedford Street.

There was a long waiting list for teachers in local schools so Irené Marsh increased the number of students to her college to help fill the gaps. As the number of students grew, she knew she had to find a facility where all the students could be accommodated, and the work undertaken in one place. In 1920 Barkhill was bought with its house and extensive grassed playing area. In January 1921 the first set of ‘freshers’ to Barkhill College arrived. By 1922, the College numbers had increased enough to now support 14 hockey teams! A remarkable level of success in such a short time.



Above: Barkhill College, Liverpool Physical Training College, 1920.

Below: The College's First XI hockey team, 1922.

Courtesy of Liverpool John Moores University Archive.

1st XI Team IMAG1110 01


In 1929 a three-year course started at the College. Some students were already taking a third year but up until then it had not been compulsory. Irené Marsh not only appointed esteemed experts in their field, but her college also produced renowned games players and dancers. She had such faith in the training provided by the college that she often appointed her own students to the staff. Two such student appointments were Kath Henderson who completed her training in 1902, and Mabel Bryant who completed her training in 1908. Kath Henderson was an England international hockey player (1904-11) and Mabel Bryant was also an England international (1901-29) as well as an international cricketer.


Kath Henderson      Mabel Bryant

Kath Henderson (left) and Mabel Bryant (right), alumni and later staff of I M Marsh College of Physical Education.

Courtesy of Liverpool John Moores University Archive.


Other significant student-to-staff appointments were May Hilton Royle who completed her training in 1906. She became a renowned physiotherapist who co-founded the School of Physiotherapy, and Ancoat's Hospital in Manchester where she was Principal for 23 years. Margaret Einert completed her training in 1910, and was appointed to the staff in 1915 – her expertise was dance. By 1917 she was asked to take the Liverpool Education Committee classes for teachers of rhythmic dancing. She travelled abroad giving lectures and classes, wrote a book and several papers, and in 1939 set up the Margaret Einert Rhythmic Dance School in Liverpool.


The Next Era

On 3 April 1938 Irené Marsh died after a seizure aged just 63. She was a dynamic personality who had built a training college that attracted students from all corners of the world. When students left, they took up appointments as PE teachers in establishments worldwide.

April 1939 saw Miss Marie Travers Crabbe appointed Principal. Like her predecessor she appointed staff of very high quality for every subject. The college was able to attract staff who were international sport players, world leaders in dance and gymnastics and scholars for the academic subjects. Her appointments included two international hockey players, Duffy Moffett and Maureen Short and one international lacrosse player, B J Lewis. Marie Crabbe kept the college open throughout the Second World War despite Liverpool being a target for extensive bombing. Barkhill did not escape bomb damage and staff and students helped put out fires.


Maureen Short England 1965

I M Marsh former lecturer Maureen Short representing England at hockey in 1965.

The Hockey Museum.


Following lengthy negotiations, Lancashire County Council took over the control of the private Liverpool Physical Training College in August 1947. This move brought the benefit of grants to students for tuition and accommodation and opened the way for a wider demographic group of students. The Governors remained keen to retain the original ethos of the college and gained permission to rename it after its founder. It became I M Marsh College of Physical Education.

From 1964 onwards, the courses continued to develop with the dance/drama course instituted, the introduction of the Diploma in Outdoor Education, a one year in-service course for practising teachers as well as a Diploma in Drama in Education. In September 1975 a three-year Bachelor of Education degree leading for the first time to a four-year honours degree was offered to all students who entered with two 'A' levels and satisfied Liverpool University entrance qualifications. The college continued to attract the most talented sports women and international hockey stars such as Marie Birtwistle, Maggie Souyave, Linda Carr, Mary Eckersall and Sheila Morrow were all graduates from the college.


Maggie Souyave 03 courtesy of Maggie Souyave

I M Marsh past student and England and Great Britain hockey player and manager Maggie Souyave.

Courtesy of Maggie Souyave.


University Status

The late part of the twentieth century saw many changes to governance at the college. In April 1977 the college linked with Liverpool Polytechnic and then five years later in it formally became part of Polytechnic. Now degrees could be awarded by the Council for National Academic Awards. Further changes came in 1992 as a result of the Further and Higher Education Act. During this period Higher Education in Britain underwent major changes and new degree courses were introduced designed to better support the needs of modern society. Liverpool Polytechnic became part of Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU).

For most of this period the physical education courses had been delivered at the original Barkhill site, but in recent years more and more courses were delivered from the city centre campus and there were moves to sell off the site. In 2011 LJMU announced its intention to sell the Barkhill Campus. However, after pressure from many quarters, the University reversed this decision in 2022 with plans for the campus to become a high-class recreation centre for staff, students and the community. A fitting future for such an historic site.

In October 2021 LJMU granted an honorary Bachelor of Education Degree to all past students of I M Marsh, who gained their Certificate in Education prior to 1980. This was a real acknowledgment of the contributions made to teaching, teacher training, physical education, education and many other and varied professions taken up by its alumni across the world.


By Sheila Wigmore
Former student at I M Marsh 1964-1967
Emeritus Professor of Physical Education, Sheffield Hallam University

Sheila Wigmore and former colleague, Professor Patricia A Shenton OBE, have recently published a book on the history of I M Marsh CPE. For more information on this publication and how to obtain a copy visit: I M Marsh College of Physical Education Book - LJMU Alumni Shop

In August 2022, The Hockey Museum (THM) featured a piece about Wembley Head Groundsman Don Gallacher and his son Colin’s efforts to document his father’s memories in a new book. Don oversaw the Wembley pitch between 1974 and 1985 when hockey crowds were at their highest. The vibrancy and the excited, piercing noise – too loud to hear the umpire’s whistle! – are vivid recollections from everyone who attended or played. We reflected on how The Hockey Museum (THM) had attempted – but ultimately failed – to track down a Wembley groundsman when writing our own chronicle of Wembley, The Magic of Wembley, only to be contacted by Colin through our public enquiries service several years later.

We are grateful to Colin for making a significant donation to THM in recognition of our small support.

(Re)visit the preceding part of the following story by clicking here: Unearthing a Groundsman’s Special Memories of Wembley Stadium (


A Reflection by Colin Gallacher on his Publishing Journey

Whilst compiling my late father’s memoir about the time he was the Head Groundsman at the ‘old’ Wembley Stadium (1974-1985), I stumbled across The Hockey Museum and in particular the marvellous book The Magic of Wembley in early 2022 – an absolute ‘fluke’.

It was back in the 1980s when I persuaded my dad to drop his other writings and pursue one about his time at Wembley Stadium. Despite my early intervention, it took another 35 years to get from ‘written’ or ‘typed’ manuscript to a printed book – the ultimate objective.

Unfortunately, the barriers were considerable; not least finding the time to produce in legible form, but also the prohibitive cost of printing or distributing a book at the time and licensing the use of photographs essential to his story. Yet in very recent years the ability for the average person to publish and the cost of images, even those owned by newspapers, have become manageable; as has my having the time to put in the work (although I didn’t appreciate just how much time).

It was Ian Gallacher, my cousin and collaborator in this current effort, who forwarded a link to The Hockey Museum’s website because he thought it may be interesting. As usual he was right: very interesting and I was able to purchase the marvellous book The Magic of Wembley. How marvellous? It was and remains so for me. Apart from being a really good read, it features the memories of former hockey players and others. Many of these coincided with my dad’s writings which proved so reassuring. The book reflects on the grandeur of the stadium and the Wembley ‘effect’ being so special for everyone who attended a sporting occasion, be it players, coaching staff or fans; and how the wonderfully noisy hockey spectators (mainly schoolgirls) muted the umpires’ whistles so that they had to be supported by additional officials using klaxons.


1957 Wembley
Cartoon humorously documenting an umpire's struggle to be heard over the crowd at Wembley.
From Hockey Field magazine 1957.


Both books refer to the original Wembley Stadium, which to some was considered as ‘The Cathedral of Football’ – the ultimate goal for players in most sports and much more. It was a truly iconic building in its day with its Twin Towers as recognisable as the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. Unlike those buildings, the original Wembley Stadium no longer exists other than in the memories of those that had the good fortune to play on the ‘sacred turf’, watch a special match or perhaps attend a rock concert with audiences approaching 100,000. Publishing books such as these help to ensure the longevity of those memories.

I’m truly impressed with The Hockey Museum’s website and I am grateful for the Museum for allowing me the use of photos for my book. I am especially thankful to the volunteer authors of The Magic of Wembley – it has been an inspiration as well as a most enjoyable reference to when women’s hockey was an annual event at the old Wembley Stadium.

Many thanks,
Colin Gallacher


Purchase the Books

Purchase Colin’s book, a memoire of his father Don Gallacher, Get Off My PitchGet Off My Pitch by Don Gallacher

Purchase The Magic of Wembley, the first publication from The Hockey Museum: Purchase The Magic of Wembley Book (


Get Off My Pitch book cover      MoW A1 poster PRESS single 1

27 September 2022 is the centenary of Australia and New Zealand men’s first international matches.

It is unusual for two nations to have their first international matches occur simultaneously, but the geographical distance of Australia and New Zealand from other hockey-playing nations of that era led to this exceptional first fixture.

The match was played at Palmerston North Sportsground (now Fitzherbert Park in New Zealand) with the home nation winning 5-4.

One of the umpires was Sidney Holland who later became Prime Minister of New Zealand (1949-1957).


New Zealand men vs Australia 1922
Above: the first New Zealand men's hockey team (1922).
Below: the first Australian men's hockey team (1922).
Australia men vs New Zealand 1922



The match report from the Manawatu Standard

A fair attendance, estimated at 1,500, enthusiastically greeted both teams. “As the Australians appeared it broke forth into hearty applause, which throughout was strictly impartial.”

New Zealand made an excellent start, Auckland centre forward Eric Watts opening the scoring, with Heaphy and Bell adding two further goals to take New Zealand to a 3-0 half-time lead.

Seaman opened Australia’s account shortly after half-time, but Heaphy scored again to extend New Zealand’s lead to 4-1. Australia were not done, however, Craig and Seaman scored in quick succession to take their team to within one goal of New Zealand. Watts then extended New Zealand’s lead to 5-3 before Seaman scored his third goal, the match finishing in a 5-4 win to New Zealand.

New Zealand were somewhat fortunate to win, the correspondent’s report asserting Heaphy was clearly off-side when he scored New Zealand’s fourth goal.

Following the match both teams were entertained “at a complimentary dinner” which “concluded at a late hour”. They, along with 80 couples, were then invited to a dance at Zealandia Hall on Broadway, which was decorated in green and gold in their honour. Shields with green and black halves, with the letter “A” on the green side and a silver fern on the black side adorned the walls. “Directly above were representations of the Kangaroo and Kiwi with crossed hockey sticks.”


* Research by Geoff Watson, Associate Professor in History at Massey University, University of New Zealand.


More Information

pdfClick the PDF icon to the right to discover more about Australia and New Zealand's first international hockey match.

Courtesy of the Australian hockey historian John Sanders.

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