Edwardian Football at the BFI

Thanks largely to the fortunate survival of the Mitchell and Kenyon archive, the British Film Institute now possesses many hours of Edwardian football footage. A large proportion of this has now been properly restored and the best of it released on two DVDs: Electric Edwardians and Edwardian Sport .

Snippets of this material come and go on Youtube, caught up in the never-ending copyright battle that makes the site so unpredictable, fun and frustrating. But now the BFI themselves have thrown a decent amount up there themselves. Here’s the best of what’s there so far. (The rest of their Youtube collection is well worth exploring, as is the Mediatheque at their beautiful Southbank headquarters in London).

Sunderland v Leicester Fosse 1907


(There’s an amusing drinking story around Leicester Fosse – look it up!)

Burnley v Manchester United 1902


Preston North End v Aston Villa 1905


Bolton v Burton United 1904/5


Preston North End v Wolverhampton Wanderers 1904


Blackburn Rovers v Aston Villa 1904


Bradford City v Gainsborough Trinity 1903


Notts County v Middlesbrough 1902


Everton v Liverpool 1902


Rotherham Town v Thornhill 1902


Newcastle United v Liverpool 1901


(The outstanding film of this set – the only one truly worth watching just for the game)

Sheffield United v Bury 1901


(The United side who lost to John Cameron’s Spurs in the Cup Final take on the Cupholders who defeated George Clawley’s Southern League Southampton in the 1900 Final)

Salford v Batley 1901

Rugby League – with fascinating changing room shots and much “background” detail.


The Ban on Womens’ Football

This is from 1921, and comments on the FA’s impending ban. Eccentric and disastrous behaviour on the FA’s part, even at the time. Genuine mysogyny I suspect, of the kind Rachel Heyhoe-Flint had to deal with at the other end of the century and Jackie Oatley’s putting up with now.



1 Reply to “Edwardian Football at the BFI”

  1. Best bit for me was the shot of the crowd at the start of the Sheffield United match. Wonderful.

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