Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton Town plea over 'illegal' women's 1935 football games

Photo of a ladies' football team running out onto the Luton Town pitch in 1935. Image copyright Luton News
Image caption A recently rediscovered photo shows an "illegal" women's match at Luton Town, believed to be in 1935

A football club has appealed for help to discover more about two "illegal" women's football matches held in 1935.

Luton Town's historian found a photo, thought to be one of the events, as he looked through archives for a project.

Little is known about the games, and the club's Community Trust wants to hear from anyone with information.

The Football Association banned women from playing matches at affiliated clubs from 1921 until 1971, calling the sport "quite unsuitable for females".

Image copyright Luton News
Image caption A newspaper advert shows two women's matches took place at Kenilworth Road in April 1935

The photo is believed to have been taken in 1935, but it is not dated more precisely.

The club believes it could be related to a newspaper cutting, also recently rediscovered, advertising two women's games at its Kenilworth Road ground in April 1935 - the Bazaar Cup Final between Woolworth and Marks & Spencer, and a "Widows v Spinsters" tie.

The club said it wanted "to uncover the stories behind these illegal ladies football matches".

Community Engagement Officer Natasha Rolt said: "We're really hoping members of the public can help shed some light on what we think is a remarkable and fascinating story.

"We're hoping to find out the experiences of people who went to the game or played in it, about the circumstances of the match and the reaction from supporters and others in the town."

The Luton Town Community Trust has been looking through archives after a £99,300 Heritage Lottery Fund grant to deliver a project to local schools that explores the history of the football club.

It will also build a "comprehensive website" of match reports, programmes and photographs for every competitive game played by the Hatters, alongside player biographies and supporter memories, the club said.

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