Women from rugby league areas who went to the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final at Wembley before 1975 are being asked to contribute their stories to a new project that examines women’s experiences of travelling ‘down south’ for the match. The project is being run by historian Dr Victoria Dawson, an honorary researcher at University College London.
Victoria explained: “We hope to interview women who travelled from the north of England to Wembley before 1975. We want to know about the whole Wembley experience, what made them decide to go, what the journey was like and what they felt when they got there. We’re especially looking for women who went to London for the very first time to go to the final, or who travelled to London by train.”
While much has been written about Wembley finals and players’ experiences, female fans’ experiences have not been documented.
The Challenge Cup Final is a hugely important fixture in the rugby league calendar, said Victoria. “We know from video footage and photographs that women went to Wembley in their thousands, many hand-making scarves, rosettes and other items to show their team colours. A trip to Wembley was a special occasion for many women.”
“In conducting this research, we want to, for the first time, document women’s experiences of the Wembley trip and shed light on wider question of the place of the sport in the leisure lives of women since 1945. Perhaps you only went once, or you went every year regardless of which teams made the final. Even if you think you have nothing to tell us, please get in touch as your experiences are valuable. “
“Our interviews will take about two hours, but we’ll fit in with you. We can come to your home, or meet you in another place where you feel comfortable. In the end, your words will feed into our research, and they might even end up in an exhibition at the new National Rugby League Museum when it opens in a few years’ time.”
If you would like to contribute, or want more information, please visit the project’s website: www.wembleywomen.wordpress.com, or contact Victoria by emailing Victoria.Dawson@ucl.ac.uk or call/text Victoria on 07902 596116.