Today’s events are tomorrow’s history. Find out more about the Heritage and Archives working group.
National Heritage and Archives Group
England is the home of Netball; it was founded by Madam Österberg at the Madam Österberg’s Physical Training College, now North Kent College, in Dartford in 1897 so is 125 years old this year.
England Netball, then known as All England Women’s Net Ball Association, was founded in 1926 so is fast approaching its 100th birthday in 2026. England Netball is the custodian of the cultural heritage and history of our sport and the associated records & archives which are professionally preserved in the National Sporting Archive at Heritage Quay, Huddersfield.
Preserving and promoting the heritage of the game is important to everyone at England Netball. England Netball’s Board members are helped to fulfil their responsibilities by a group of passionate volunteers from the netball family and other professionals who specialise in sporting heritage and archives.
The national England Netball archives are safely stored at Heritage Quay, the University of Huddersfield and are available to search by appointment for research and review.
The volunteers have created a website www.ournetballhistory.org.uk which has lots of information about the beginnings of netball as well as many photographs and netball memories from the early 20th century. Netball history is being made every day.
More information on our Heritage volunteers, including how you can get involved, can be found below.
EN President and Chair of the Archive Group (NHAG) – been involved with NHAG since it’s inauguration.
Love the history of Netball, especially as it started in my County of Kent back in 1897 and preserving it for future generations.
Reading and researching every level of our game from grass roots to international involvement. Come and join us!
University Archivist, Heritage Quay, University of Huddersfield
I’m responsible for managing Heritage Quay, the University of Huddersfield’s Archives and Records Management service which is home to the England Netball Archive. I’m keen to explore ways to increase engagement with the archive and work with the Netball Heritage and Archives Group to ensure we capture stories and heritage for the archive.
Former EN Chief Executive, EN Honorary Life Member and chair of East Region
As a volunteer, Paul has recently assisted the group to produce a Netball Heritage strategy and operating plans for the next 5 years – carefully aligning them to England Netball’s Adventure strategy.
As a senior lecturer and Manchester Met, and a founder of the Netball History Network, I am committed to establishing an international community of netball scholars and publications, whilst developing my own research project surrounding the founding women of England Netball and the construction of a more comprehensive history of the organisation. I am particularly interested in on uncovering the life stories of lost figures within netball’s long history and detailing the origins of the sport. Outside of work, I am an avid netballer in a playing, umpiring and administrative capacity. It is great that I am able to combine work with my passion for the sport.
Volunteer for over 50 years from the East. Worked for England Netball for 30 years. Every time the office moved until 2017 all the boxes of archive material came with me.
I am not strategic. I love sorting and cataloguing hard copy archives including event information where I still have over 15 folders to go through. Also currently identifying and labelling photo slides and writing content scripts for the 8mm/15mm archive films that have just been digitised.
Help is needed when we get over 300 VHS tapes digitised as they will all need to be scripted.
Former President and EN Honorary Life Member and lead for the Netball Heritage Funding
I am intrigued by the social history aspects of netball – from its early days to the impact our sport has on all members of the netball family today. I especially enjoy the research aspects of the group’s work and talking about netball’s heritage to anyone who will listen!
More volunteers who can help with promoting the group’s work to funders and sponsors would be very welcome.
EN Honorary Life Member, former Publicity Officer and involved since 1971 at all levels of the game. I’m passionate about Netball as the true team sport and its evolution from the early days in the early 1890s to today. A key responsibility for our group is the Collection and Protection of our heritage for future generations and researchers.
Currently there are four projects that require more volunteer support
- Implementing a digital archive of contemporary and past history
- Creating folders and descriptions of digitised films and VHS tapes
- Producing and refreshing a rolling set of photographs for the Heritage website
- Defining the GAP in our history since around 2000 and sourcing the material, much of it working with EN at Loughborough
- Obtaining copyright permission for the films and VHS tapes
Netball Europe’s Finance Director and EN Honorary Life member explains ‘the reason behind my involvement with the EN Heritage and Archive group is that we are only where we are now thanks to the efforts and time given by so many people over nearly 100 years. I want to make sure that all those people and teams are not just assigned to history but have their stories told.
As a former Chair and President of EN, and former Director of World Netball, I have loved and still love listening to the stories told by so many Netball Legends. I am therefore privileged to Lead Pillar 4 of NHAG’s Strategic Plan – Oral Histories. My aim, with the help of others, is to achieve 100 histories for England Netball’s 100th Anniversary.
How can I get involved?
- Are you passionate about Netball and interested in preserving and celebrating the history & heritage of our sport?
- Would you like to help recreate netball memories as part of our Oral History project?
- Are you a student netballer looking for volunteering experience?
Netballers of all ages are welcome to join us!
Before our 100th anniversary in 2026, there is much to do – so we are looking to recruit more volunteers of all ages, from all parts of the netball family, to help with the following projects:
- Cataloguing items of interest at Heritage Quay
- Supporting the preparation & staffing of a mobile exhibition at key EN events
- Conducting interviews with our pioneers, pathfinders & history makers as part of our Oral History programme (Training will be given)
- Working with EN to collect contemporary records
- Supporting the planning & delivery of a centenary event in 2026
- Promoting netball heritage and helping to look for funding opportunities for our projects
- Leading on the improvement of our social media presence. Helping to increase the sharing of netball heritage stories and news to a much wider audience – inside and outside the sport
If you are well organised and passionate about netball – whatever time you can spare – we can find a role for you. Please get in touch and tell us:
- Which project or projects you might be interested in
- Your connection with netball
- A short paragraph explaining your motivation in becoming a netball heritage volunteer
We need you!
“Hi, my name is Janet, and I am a member of EN’s National Archives and Heritage Group. My role on this group is to “lead” on Oral Histories from those volunteers/staff members who have made a significant impact on our sport over a number of years. E.g. someone who has run and organised a local league, someone who has founded/coached a specific club, someone who has been a Chair or Administrator, National Players, Coaches and Officials etc. We have many members of the Netball family whether at National, County, Regional or local level who have contributed greatly to our sport.
I have an ambitious project where I would like to “record” 100 oral histories by 2026.
To achieve this I have several actions, one of which is to request the names and a brief description of anyone in your County who you believe have contributed significantly in our sport. Following receipt of names, representatives of the NHAG group will select 100 individuals. Therefore it is important that you do not tell anyone that they have been nominated to avoid disappointment. Permission will be requested from them prior to any interview taking place.
If you know of someone that has made a significant impact in your county, please get in touch on email@example.com“