Sunday, 29 January 2017

Fitness: Activity in History part 6

Sport evolved in various ways during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. It became more organized. Associations sprang up for various sports from archery to swimming and everything in between. There was a need for overseeing bodies to organize to agree on rules and organize matches and meets. These associations also helped some sports became commercially viable. A prime example of this is the game of Football in Britain. Those amateur pub teams were the beginning of many of today's teams. 

With the growth in leisure time, more of the population was able to participate in sports. At least this was true for the male population. It took a while longer for females to over come the idea that exercise was injurious to their fertility. The change in attitude can perhaps be best illustrated by the dress worn by women engaged in sport. The woman tennis player of the 1880s would be decked out in a dress with bustle and, of course, a hat. The sport minded woman of the 1890s could wear bloomers with a tailored jacket, a look more in keeping with the power some women were then seeking through the suffrage movement. 

As sport evolved its commercial possibilities were realized, not solely by professional teams, but also by other companies; those manufacturers and outfitters who saw the profits to be made in making and selling the equipment and clothing needed for these new activities. And, with profits to be made, the growth and promotion of sporting activities was a given.


Flanders, Judith. Consuming Passions: Leisure and Pleasure in Victorian Britain. Harper Perennial, London, 2007

Huggins, Mike. The Victorians and Sport. Hambledon and London, London, 2004


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