PE Pioneer Irene Has Made History; Top Book Records Work with Girls of IM Marsh

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), October 15, 2007 | Go to article overview

PE Pioneer Irene Has Made History; Top Book Records Work with Girls of IM Marsh


Byline: By BEN TURNER Education Reporter

A PE pioneer who devoted her life to promoting exercise in Liverpool has been assured her place in the history books.

Walton-born Irene Marsh is credited with paving the exercise path for hundreds of girls in the north west.

In 1900 she opened a college - now owned by Liverpool John Moores university - to train them to become PE teachers.

And her innovative efforts to give women equal access to exercise have been saluted in the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Printed in 60 volumes the dictionary is a respected reference point highlighting the lives of 56,000 notable historical characters.

The dictionary reveals how after taking director jobs at gymnasiums in Liverpool and Bootle Irene was able to "save enough to found the Liverpool Physical Training College".

It adds: "This was a period in which female emancipation was associated with the ability of women to take up sport and exercise and the college flourished."

She died in her mid-60s in 1938 - but the site at Barkhill Road, Aigburth, lives on.

Now known as the IM Marsh campus it is run by Liverpool John Moores and its PE chief, Pat Shenton, said it was only fitting the "inspirational leader" was being honoured in print. …

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