Florrie Redford: The Preston Munitionette

Jun 10, 2020

Life Stories

Florrie Redford

Beginnings

Florrie Redford was born in Preston c. 1899. She was a “munitionette” during the First World War, working for the Dick, Kerr Company, where she played football during meal breaks; she was in the Dick, Kerr Ladies XI for its first match on Christmas Day 1917, watched by 10 000 spectators, and raising £200 for a local hospital. Florrie Redford was an outstanding goalscoring centre-forward. She represented England in women’s international games against Scotland and Wales in 1918.

Pioneer of the Women’s Game

After the war ended and women returned to civilian life, Florrie Redford trained to be a psychiatric nurse. Dick, Kerr Ladies had great success. In 1920 and 1921, their matches were watched by huge crowds and raised thousands of pounds for hospitals and other charities. Florrie led England in a series of matches against France. But this surge of interest in the women’s game was blocked in December 1921 when the Football Association issued a ban on the women’s game.

Outside the Law

The FA ban did not stop the women’s game completely; Dick, Kerr and other teams kept on playing, but all games were ‘unofficial’. Along with Lily Parr and the French player, Carmen Pomies, Florrie Redford led the Dick, Kerr team on its tour of North America in 1922. Florrie was also invited by Carmen to play in France. Florrie emigrated to Canada in 1930. She came home in 1938 and played one last match against a French touring team, before retiring from the game. She later moved to Coventry and married John Fairley. Florrie Redford Fairley died after a heart attack in 1969.

Thinking points

Florrie Redford was a leading pioneer of women’s football, and a star centre-forward for Dick, Kerr Ladies in the 1920s playing in England, France and the United States. She was a close friend of Carmen Pomies, who moved from France to Preston to join the Dick, Kerr team. Florrie qualified as a psychiatric nurse and emigrated to Canada in 1930 but later returned to England.

Educators could look at the life story of Florrie Redford and work with young people to consider these questions:

  1. Find out how Florrie Redford has been remembered (or forgotten?) in the history of women’s football in Britain.
  2. What does Florrie Redford’s life story tell us about football and the place of women in society?

Find out more

Read the article on Football Makes history about her relation to Carmen Pomies.

COVER Image

La Mujer el Football (Women and Football). Florrie Redford of Dick, Kerr’s Ladies greets Carmen Pomies, captain of France, 1925 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

La Mujer el Football (Women and Football). Florrie Redford of Dick, Kerr’s Ladies greets Carmen Pomies, captain of France, 1925 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).

Life Story

Florrie Redford was a leading pioneer of women’s football, and a star centre-forward for Dick, Kerr Ladies in the 1920s playing in England, France and the United States. Her story is about pioneering in Women’s Football.

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Article Tags:   20th century  |   diversity  |   gender history  |   pioneers  |   World War 1

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