Lilian Saatweber (1864-1914)

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Lilian Saatweber (1864-1914)


Pioneer of Women’s golf. Lady Captain and President of women’s golf clubs and associations throughout the Northwest.


Lilian Russell Leicester was born in Stretford on 27 May 1864. She was the eldest daughter of Frederick Leicester, a woollen salesman and Eliza (neé Shelmerdine), a teacher of dance and music.

The 1881 census indicates the family were living at Throstle Bank on Chester Road, Stretford, and Lilian’s occupation is shown as a dance teacher.

In 1884, Lilian married Gustav Adolf Saatweber, a merchant of silks and braids, at the Church of St Mary, Hulme. After their marriage, the couple resided at 6, Trafford Terrace, Stretford Road. They then moved to 38, Seymour Grove, Old Trafford, followed by Oak Avenue, Stretford. By 1914, they had moved to 1, Kings Avenue, Old Trafford.

Lilian Saatweber was one of the first women in Manchester to take up the game of golf. Trafford Golf Club opened in 1891 and it was here where her interest in golf began. She formally opened the clubhouse when Gustav was Captain. Lilian joined Timperley Golf Club and won the Jubilee Challenge Trophy in 1897, later becoming Lady Captain at the club from 1899 -1900. She was also a member of Lytham St. Anne’s Golf Club.

In 1904, a committee of women associated with Manchester Golf Club, decided to form a women’s club. Lilian took on the roles of both Secretary and Treasurer.

In 1904, Lilian wrote to the Captain and Council to ask if it would be possible for the ladies to take complete control of their part of the Club. At first, the Council were not keen to let the women manage their own affairs, but after much deliberation, the Council finally agreed. On 17 March 1905, the first A.G.M. of the Manchester Ladies’ Golf Club was held at Trafford Park Hall. It was unanimously agreed that Lilian should be the first Lady Captain.

In 1910, Lilian became Honorary Secretary of the Lancashire Ladies’ County Committee and President and Secretary of the Manchester and District Ladies’ Golf Association. In 1912, she was made Honorary Member of the Ladies’ Section of Manchester Golf Club.

On Saturday 23 May 1914, Lilian felt unwell and decided to rest at home. Sadly, she died later that day. Lilian is buried at Brooklands Cemetery in Sale. 

The Manchester Evening News reported Lilian’s death in an article on 25 May 1914, entitled: A Pioneer of Women’s Golf.

‘Manchester lady golfers will hear with regret of the death of Mrs G.A. Saatweber, which occurred suddenly on Saturday afternoon at her house in Old Trafford. She won many prizes at golf , but she will be remembered as a lady who worked hard and unselfishly for others in the clubs to which she belonged.’


Blue Plaque awarded by Trafford Council 23 May 2024




“Lilian Saatweber (1864-1914),” Exploring Trafford's Heritage , accessed June 16, 2024,