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.