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The Bergman Österberg Union

The Bergman Österberg Union of Trained Gymnastic Teachers was established informally in 1900, at Madame Bergman Österberg’s Physical Training College, Dartford Heath. Its purpose was to facilitate the circulation of Old Students’ news and to instigate a benefit fund. The founder of the College, Madame Martina Bergman Österberg, was influential in establishing the Bergman Österberg Union and oversaw the early years.

After her death in 1915, some prominent former students met to adopt a Constitution which had been prepared by one of the Trustees of the College. At this meeting on January 14th 1916, the Bergman Österberg Union of Trained Gymnastic Teachers was formally established. The minutes of that meeting, together with those of successive Committees up to the present day, are preserved in the Bergman Österberg Union Archive.

Current membership of the Bergman Österberg Union [BÖU] is approximately 350, including many overseas members. A Reunion and Annual General Meeting are held at Dartford in September of each year. Year groups also meet together in other parts of the country throughout the year. There is an annual Magazine and a Newsletter which provide information about past students and current activities. The BÖU Benefit Fund is for former students in need of financial assistance, who completed a full-time course of initial teacher training at the College at Dartford.

The Bergman Österberg Union Executive Committee meets at Dartford three times per year. For information about membership, please contact the Committee Secretary, Jill Ellis Williams:  jill.ellis@tesco.net

The Österberg Collection consists of material associated with Madame Österberg’s Physical Training College, founded in Hampstead in 1885 and transferred to Dartford in 1895. The Collection is housed at the Dartford campus of North Kent College. Admission is free of charge to anyone genuinely interested in the history of Madame Österberg’s College and visitors will be invited to make a donation.

The Collection is open on Wednesdays from 10am to 4pm and on other days by appointment.  For more information, go to our Visit Us page.

Visit our Centenary Celebrations page to learn more about the Legacy of Madame Österberg