Bergman Osterberg Union (The Osterberg Collection)

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 Madame 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 research resource for wider academic themes such as Physical Education; Gender Studies; Women’s Studies; Health and Medicine; Education, and Sports Studies.
The game of netball was invented 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 is extensive and eclectic. It incorporates original documents; College and student records; historic photographs; items of sports costume; sports equipment and books. A significant proportion of the Collection is catalogued. Many historic photographs have been digitised. The Österberg Collection and associated (small) on-site Visitor Centre is generally open to the public and researchers on Wednesdays (11.00 am – 4.00 pm). Those wishing to visit the Österberg Collection at another time should contact [email protected] to make a prior appointment with the Curator.

Further information can be found on the Bergman Österberg Union website –

This collection entry was last updated on 02/10/2019. Information incorrect or out-of-date?