The Osterberg legacy lives on in Dartford

North Kent College opened the newly refurbished Österberg Collection to the public with the help of Gareth Johnson MP and guests.

The Österberg Collection exists to continue the recognition of the significant pieces of sporting history, starting as early as 1895, when Martina Bergman Österberg opened a specialist physical training college for girls and young women on the site of the current NKC Dartford Campus.

Included in the visitor centre is a variety of material including the history of physical education and the life and work of Madame Bergman Österberg, but also information regarding the local history and links the college has with Dartford. The archive also proudly showcases how not only did Madame became known for being a strong advocate in the fight for feminism, but also had a significant role in the invention of netball.

The Open Day was a great success with many people attending, including Dartford’s MP, council representatives and the Mayor of Dartford, as well as former students from the female sports college, ex-teaching staff and staff from the University of Greenwich.

Gareth Johnson MP, who kindly opened the visitor centre with the help of the Mayor of Dartford, Councillor Roger Perfitt, commented on what was achieved here at the Dartford site over the years, “The greatest legacy of the college is the idea of female empowerment that came from Madame Bergman Österberg. The achievement was that women that attended here felt that they were enabled to compete on equal terms with men. The new visitor centre is a testament to the hard work of the volunteers who run the collection and will ensure the college’s legacy will live on”.

Anne Stuart, former Bergman Österberg sports college student, said “We were delighted with today’s opening. Being in the middle of the North Kent College campus gives the Österberg Collection a much higher profile and we will now be able to host events and cater for visitors much more easily!”

The Bergman Österberg archive is now open to visitors on Wednesdays between 11am and 4pm, at North Kent College’s Dartford campus on Oakfield Lane. If you wish to visit at another time please contact bergmanosterbergunion@gmail.com. For more information please visit www.bergmanosterbergunion.org.uk.