The teams were drawn from factory sides that grew up during the War years – from companies such as General Rolling Mills, British-American Tobacco and Pirelli.
It looked like women’s football was set to grow during and after World War One, but three years after hostilities ended, in 1921 The Football Association banned women from playing on pitches of FA-affiliated clubs. As a result, the embryonic women’s clubs and leagues in southern England’s premier port city came to a juddering halt.
These early years – and the story to the present day – are covered in a multi-faceted exhibition at:
• SeaCity Museum – the exhibition traces the history of women’s football in Southampton. It opens on 25th June and runs to 30th November.
In 1966, football fever gripped the country as the England’s men’s team won the FIFA World Cup. Southampton FC (the Saints) were promoted to Division 1 for the first time. In parallel – for the first time since 1920 – women’s football teams began to form in Southampton and a local women’s football league was set up. Matches were played on Southampton Common and featured teams from local businesses, such as Cunard, Southern Gas, Patstone Sports and Royal Exchange Insurance.
From these teams emerged one entity: Southampton Women’s FC. It hit the ground running – no, sprinting – when The FA ban was lifted in 1971: the club won eight of the first 11 Women’s FA Cup Finals to be played. Unsurprisingly, when the first official England side was selected in 1972, almost half the squad were from Southampton.
To hear and see some of the women who feature in the history of women’s football in and around Southampton, please click below:
Free Outdoor Exhibition
Southampton | Above Bar Street | SO14 7DZ
25 June – 30 November 2022
Visit SeaCity Museum this summer to discover the pioneering world of women’s football! For the first time in Southampton, photographs, objects, and oral history about the women’s game will be on display. Learn about the origins of the First World War factory teams in 1917, and later why women were stopped from playing. Discover how Southampton Common was the birthplace of Southampton Women’s FC – the most successful Southampton team ever - (winning 8 WFA Cup Finals). And find out about Southampton’s connection to the earliest national England teams, both official and unofficial!
You can get involved too!
On the Ball: The Trailblazers of Southampton
Southampton Art Gallery Lecture Theatre
8 July 2022
Most Sotonians knows when the Saints won The FA cup, right? But what about the Southampton’s Women's team? Join some of the ex-Southampton Women’s FC and England players from 1970s and 1980s for a special one-off Q&A event and discover the story of the most successful side (with eight FA cups wins) Southampton has ever seen!
Hear their astonishing stories of muddy pitches, international travel, lack of equipment, sexism, but above all their desire and passion for the beautiful game.
All monies made from this event will be donated to Hampshire FA to help fund their soccercise classes for women in Swathling, any amount you can give will be gratefully received. Tickets available late-June.
Knitting Drop-In Session: Make A Football Scarf
2 July & 6 August 2022
Join artist Jilly Evans to make a football scarf and discover over 100 years of women’s football in Southampton. Wool, needles and patterns are provided at every session. Please book in advance.
Finished scarfs will be displayed at The Hidden Wardrobe, Northam, later in 2022.
More information - https://seacitymuseum.co.uk and tickets: http://https//www.wegottickets.com/event/549371/