Ethel Scott

Ethel Scott [1907 - 1984] Ethel Edburga Clementina Scott was a sportswoman and member of the British 4 x 100m relay team. She won the silver medal at the Women’s World Games in Prague in 1930, where she became the first Black woman to represent Great Britain in international athletics. As a sprinter, who specialised in short distances such as 60 and 100 metres, she was active in international competitions for a short period in the 1930s.

Scott was born on 22 October 1907 to Jane (née Pilgrim) and David Emmanuel Scott. Her father served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during World War I and was killed in an accident on HMS Hogue in August 1914 at age 49. As a result, she and her siblings were raised by their single mother, Jane, until she died in 1951 in Upton Park, London and Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

Her achievements are only thinly documented, and many details of her career are unknown. However, records show that she set several personal bests, one of 7.8 seconds for the 60 metres at a track meet in Mitcham, London, in 1930, which equalled the record set by British athlete Mary Lines in 1922 and was two-tenths of a second off the World Record of 7.6 seconds. Her best time for the 100 metres was also in 1930, at a meet in Arras, France, where she obtained a time of 11.1 seconds. She was only one of fifteen athletes chosen to represent Britain at the Women’s World Games in Prague, which were created as an alternative to the Olympics and was one of her proudest moments. Then, in Berlin, for another race, competing as part of the “London Team,” she obtained a time of 49.3 seconds in the 4x100 relay on 13 September 1930.

It is thought that she competed with the Middlesex Ladies’ Athletics Club and a photograph taken in 1929 shows her in MLAC uniform, surrounded by at least six medals and four trophies. Unfortunately, many of those awards were lost when the family home was destroyed in a German air raid in 1940, including her cherished silver medal from the Women’s World Games. Scott worked in the Civil Service as a medical secretary until her retirement. She died in 1984.

Location: Upton Park