A BRIEF HISTORY OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION IN BEDFORD
1903 - 1940s
Bedford has a long history of training Physical Education Teachers dating back to 1903, when pioneering educationalist Margaret Stansfeld founded Bedford Physical Training College in Lansdowne Road, Bedford. The college trained female students in the art of Physical Training which included remedial and educational gymnastics, swimming, dance and games. Students studied anatomy, physiology and, until the 1940s, qualified as physiotherapists as well as teachers.
The College was originally the responsibility of the Department for Health until 1945 when ‘Physical Training’ was changed to ‘Physical Education’ reflecting changes in schools and the college became the responsibility of the Department of Education.
In 1952, the college was sold to the Local Authority and became known as Bedford College of Physical Education.
In 1976, in a move to streamline Higher Education provision, it became part of Bedford College of Higher Education and known as the School of Human Movement Studies. Study of Physical Education expanded to include other related areas such as sports, biomechanics and sociology. PE Teacher training in Bedford remained exclusively female until 1977 when the first male trainee teachers were admitted to the course.
In the 1990’s other related areas were added to the School of Human Movement Studies including Sports Studies and Leisure Studies, It then became known as the Dept of PE, Sport and Leisure. Faculty of Higher Education. Bedford College of Higher Education.
In 1994 this faculty became part of De Montfort University remaining at Lansdowne Road until 2006 when De Montfort sold the Lansdowne site and the university merged with the University of Luton and became the University of Bedfordshire.
College history captured on film
Courtesy of ITV news, see here a short film showing some past times at Bedford.