Sheffield Home of Football Library

Sheffield Home of Football Library

and Martin Westby archive

4 old pictures relating to football

Images of football and Sheffield

Sheffield is home to the oldest football club in the world, and that's not all! We have so much football history here in this city. Let Sheffield Libraries and Archives help tell you the story of football’s early days.

Learn about the beautiful game and the home of football by exploring our collection in the Sheffield Football Library, located in the Central Library and in the Sheffield Home of Football Archives, or you can download our Walking Tour App. 

A brief history

In 1857,  Sir Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest formed Sheffield FC, the oldest existing association football club in the world. Not long after that, they drafted the club's rules of play, including the ball being allowed to be headed, wooden crossbars introduced, free kicks and corners being introduced and the concept of playing under floodlights.

Old picture of mens football team

Earliest known image of the world’s oldest association football club, Sheffield FC.

The first women's match in Sheffield was played in May 1895, when two touring teams from The British Ladies Football Club went head to head at the Sheaf House Ground, Bramall Lane, Sheffield. It was watched by around 3,000 spectators. 

The Walking Tour App

Between 1857 and 1889, Sheffield had 95 football clubs. The app explores locations associated with these early clubs and the development of the modern game. Visiting ten stops over the 4.7 mile walk, you will be introduced to the places and people that made Sheffield the home of Association Football.

The app includes audio commentaries, so you can listen as you walk or sit and enjoy it from anywhere in the world. 

As you reach key points along the walk, content in the app will be triggered automatically. You can also follow your location on an 1855 map, giving you a sense of what Sheffield was like at that time.

iPhone in mans hand. On phone screen reads "The first ever floodlit game"

Phone in hand using the walking tour app

Visit, learn and contribute

Join us to learn about the origin of one of sports most popular games and how Sheffield became the foundation for the beautiful game.  Come and find out about Sheffield's role in the history of the game at The Sheffield Home of Football archive display located in the local studies department on the first floor of Central Library. 

The Sheffield Football Library is a growing collection of reference books about the game and has a complete run of 'When Saturday Comes' fanzine donated by the Great Save organisation. Access to the Football Library is by appointment only. Contact us to book in. 

We want you to help us build our football library. If you have any historical items relating to the game of football in Sheffield, and would be interested in donating them to our collection, please get in touch.

Central Library Opening hours

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 10am to 5pm

Wednesday: 10am to 8pm

Saturday: 10am to 4pm or 0114 273 4727

Archive (located in Local Studies Library) Opening hours

Wednesday: 1pm to 8pm

Thursday: 10am to 5pm

Friday and Saturday: 10am to 4pm or call 0114 273 4712

Sheffield: Home of football walking tour app
Discover more with pink page break

The written content of the app was produced by John Wilson of Sheffield University and football historian Martin Westby.  More detail of Sheffield's early football history may be found in Martin's book,  'A History of Sheffield Football 1857 - 1889: Speed, Science and Bottom'.