Posted on 09/08/2013
Royal Holloway College Cricket Club c.1900
England have retained the Ashes again and this month’s archive item shows some of the College’s past cricketers, the Royal Holloway College Cricket team from c.1900. The first women’s cricket match on record was played in July 1745 near Guildford, not a million miles away from our campus but still today many consider cricket to be a male sport. It seems that in the 1890s women were encouraged to play cricket as a less severe sport than lawn tennis or skating which increase the popularity of the sport for women. A team called the Original English Lady Cricketers toured the country and attracted large groups of spectators, perhaps some of the ladies in the photograph had been inspired by them.
The photograph itself seems to have been taken on an idyllic summer’s afternoon with the sunlight coming through the leaves of the tree behind the team. If you look very closely you can just see that the women are all wearing badges with the initials RHC CC on them standing for Royal Holloway College Cricket Club. No records of the Cricket Club survive in the archive from this time so we don’t know how successful they were at the sport or how often they competed. In the early days of the College the students would often have to play against fellow students or a staff team because there weren’t any local women’s sports teams to challenge to a match. As more women’s College’s grew up in Britain the opportunities for intercollegiate competitions increased.
Annabel Gill, College Archivist