The 1953 IFWHA Tournament In Folkestone

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Jo Halpin (Journalist and research student at De Montfort University, England).

For her Master’s dissertation, Jo examined the All England Women’s Hockey Association’s (AEWHA) amateur ideals in relation to the 1953 International Federation of Women’s Hockey Association (IFWHA) tournament in Folkestone. It was the only time an IFWHA tournament would be held in England and more than 300 athletes from 16 countries – including New Zealand, Australia, the USA, South Africa and India – travelled to Kent to take part. There was no winning team, however, because the IFWHA tournaments were strictly amateur; athletes competed purely for the love of the game. This non-competitive model of play persisted until 1975, when the first IFWHA championship was played for in Edinburgh.

This research paper argues that not playing for trophies was the result of a particularly English influence on the development of women’s international hockey. The AEWHA took the lead role in setting up IFWHA in 1927 and, as a result, its amateur ideals were imported into the new organisation. Adhering to these principals also differentiated IFWHA from the male-led Fédération Internationale de Hockey (FIH) the essay contends, and allowed the women to keep control over their sport for much of the 20th century. It was also a reason why IFWHA did not lobby for the inclusion of women’s hockey in the Olympic Games.

Jo was awarded the Michael Cockayne Prize for the best MA dissertation in sports history for the 2012/13 academic year by De Montfort University. A copy of her dissertation is held at The Hockey Museum.


Jo Halpin

Jo Halpin is a professional journalist and part-time research student at the International Centre for Sports History and Culture, De Montfort University.

Her main academic interest is the history of women’s hockey and she is particularly interested in the class and gender aspects of women’s hockey in England up to the start of World War 2 and hopes to shed light on this by looking at the relationship between the AEWHA – upper-middle class, strictly amateur, exclusively female-run – and the Lancashire and Cheshire Ladies' Hockey League (LHL), established for working women, and male-led.

If you would like to know more about Jo’s research, or have any information that you think might be of interest to her, please contact The Hockey Museum (contact form) and we can put you in touch.


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