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Background

The Anstey College of Physical Training was founded by Rhoda Anstey in 1897. It was the second women's physical training college to be established after Hampstead Training College (later Dartford College) which was founded by the Swedish physical educationalist Madame Bergman Österberg where Rhoda Anstey herself trained in 1893 to 1895. Anstey's first location was at the Leasowes a house in Halesowen formerly the home of the poet and landscape gardener William Shenstone (1714 to 1763). In 1907 Rhoda Anstey moved the college to Yew Tree House on the Chester Road in Erdington, where it remained until 1981.

From its outset the college forged close links with Birmingham University for students to receive instruction in Anatomy and Physiology and also with local schools where students undertook teaching practice and from where pupils came to the college to be taught physical education and remedial gymnastics. In the early days the college trained women professionals in: ''….Educational Gymnastics, Medical Gymnastics, Anatomy, Physiology, Hygiene, Dancing, Swimming and Games and …. (aimed to) prepare girls to take up the work of Physical Education in Schools'' (Rhoda Anstey, Founder /Principal 1904, College Magazine 1, p3). The archive is ongoing and further contributions are welcome. More material is continually being added to the collection.

The college had to move in 1981 as part of the Department of Education and Science's restructuring, and became the Anstey School of Physical Education within the Birmingham Polytechnic on Westbourne Road, Edgbaston. The college finally closed in 1984.

Throughout its history and still with us today there is a dynamic Anstey Association of former students and staff who have lovingly collected and safe guarded the custodial history of the college in this archive and also retained other memorabilia and larger scale items in the Anstey Room in Ravensbury House, Westbourne Road, which is part of the Birmingham City University (formerly Birmingham Polytechnic, then University of Central England). Regular gatherings of the Anstey Association continue to foster the ethos of the college to physical educationalists world wide.