Eileen Fowler comes to Welwyn Garden City

British Pathe Newsreel film

By Susi Smith

Eileen Fowler and her keep fit girls
Welwyn garden city Library
Eileen Fowler on The Campus

During the 1930’s Eileen Fowler became involved in a fitness campaign that swept Britain and other countries across the world. She became a figurehead of the Keep Fit movement, maintaining that exercise could be fun, as well as very good for your health. She set up classes from 1934, training housewives and visiting factory workers. During the war years she also founded the Industrial Keep Fit organization to provide classes for workers in Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Essex, and organised shows and pageants around the country in consultation with the Central Council of Physical Recreation.

This British Pathe Newsreel shows one of her pageants taking place on the Campus in Welwyn Garden City. The year is 1942, and you can see the Council Offices in the background. Eileen Fowler makes an appearance at the end of the film receiving a bouquet of flowers from a little girl.

Do you know who the little girl was?

This page was added on 06/07/2010.

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  • My grandfather’s family lived in the buildings facing Sidney Street, where the army had set up their headquarters. There’s a family story that my great-aunt, who would have been about 16 at the time, browbeat a succession of increasingly-senior soldiers —ending up with the most senior having to go to Churchill himself — until a soldier was assigned to escort her to the bakery so she could buy bread for her younger brothers and sisters, with the bullets flying overhead.

    By Miky (10/04/2012)