The Circumstances of the Football Games for the Elementary Schoolchildren
     from the late 19th Century to the Early 20th Century England.
   ―With Reference to South London Schools' Football Association―

       Hiroaki SAKAKIBARA (Tokyo Seitoku University)


  This paper intends to explain the circumstances of the football games for elementary
schoolchildren from the late 19th century to the early 20th century England. Her Majesty's
Inspectors revealed that the football games for schoolchildren were not still actually
timetabled and that they were played outside normal school hours in parks and other open
spaces near schools, and this brought extra work of teachers concerning with children's
football, who in season and out of season, sacrificed so much of their time voluntarily for
the children's benefit. While all this grassroots activities of the teachers were going on, the
Board of Education remained hesitant about officially sanctioning the organized games for
elementary schoolchildren. South London Schools' Football Association (hereafter SLSFA)
was founded in the summer of 1885 under the supervision of the elementary schools' teach-
ers, which was the first elementary schools' football association in England and Wales. The
object of SLSFA was to encourage the inter-school matches of football in the districts of
Lambeth, Wandsworth and Southwark, i.e., the south devision of London. SLSFA had from
the beginning received the valuable help from various some football clubs and proprietors
of grounds, this had materially assisted the progress of SLSFA. The interest of children and
teachers in the Competitions rapidly increased, and in three years from the commencement;
the Junior Competition and the Senior Competition were arranged. Thus, The elementary
schools' football associations depended upon the initiative and enthusiasm of children and
teachers working together without the financial assistance from the local or central educa-
tional authourities. In fostering the sporting and recreative side of football, as opposed to
the modern spectacular and commercialistic aspects of the games, SLSFA had done and was
still doing a good work. In matches with the teams of other associations, the selected team
of SLSFA had met with great measure of success. To win the Championship of London, by
gaining the Corinthian Shield six times in twelve years, was a result of which anyone may
be proud. The proceeds of many of these matches, particularly of those played with some
opponents from Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, and so on, had been devoted the
friendship of inter-association matches. Therefore, SLSFA played an important role in the
organization of the football games for elementary schoolchildren, and the promotion of
friendly matches between each schools' football association.