The Österberg Collection, owned and managed by the Bergman Österberg Union, is currently housed at North Kent College, Oakfield Lane, Dartford, Kent DA1 2JT on the site of what was formerly Martina Bergman Österberg’s Physical Training College (1895-1986). Martina Bergman Österberg established Britain’s first physical education teacher training college for women in Hampstead in 1885, moving to Dartford in 1895 as part of her quest for female emancipation through education.
The Österberg Collection is now probably the most significant archive in the world relating to the history and development of women’s Physical Education. It charts almost every aspect of the pioneering College’s history and constitutes an important resource for the worldwide academic community researching themes such as Physical Education; Gender Studies; Women’s Studies; Health and Medicine; Education; Sports Studies; Local history of Dartford, Kent; Family history research. The Österberg Collection receives enquiries from the UK and across the World.
The game of netball was first developed at the College in Dartford, and it was at Dartford that the ‘gymslip’ was first prototyped and then developed as a practical and emancipatory item of female sportswear.
The Österberg Collection contains books, college uniform, committee papers, diploma badges, games equipment and clothing, letters, photographs and photograph albums.
Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated volunteers, Rosemary Moon (Curator), Alan Gamwell and Gwen Seabrook Smith, we have almost 8,000 records in our database.