England Netball and UK Sport have launched their Netball Heritage Archive at the University of Huddersfield ©INF

England Netball, in partnership with UK Sport, have officially opened a "Netball Heritage Archive" at the University of Huddersfield’s Heritage Quay.

The Archive, which traces the birth of netball back to 1897, forms part of the Netball Heritage Project launched by England Netball during its 90th birthday celebrations in 2016.

A special event was held to mark its opening, attended by officials including UK Sport chief executive and former netball international Liz Nicholl, England Netball chief executive Joanna Adams and Tim Thornton, who is both Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Huddersfield and a professor of history.

"Netball has grown massively and been thrust into the limelight, especially over the last 12 months since the England team won the Commonwealth Games for the first time in history," Adams said.

"It is wonderful to now be able to look back on how it all began thanks to this archive, and to see how netball got to where it is today.

"I hope others enjoy sharing in the history of this sport as much as I do."

The archive at the University of Huddersfield covers the sport since its birth in 1897 up until
The archive at the University of Huddersfield covers the sport since its birth in 1897 up until "recent highlights" from the England team, including their gold medal victory at last year's Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

Sarah Wickham, and archivist at the university, added they are "delighted" that England Netball have created the archive at Heritage Quay.

"This is a significant addition to our sporting collections," she said.

"Building on netball’s recent high profile successes, we look forward to welcoming researchers interested in exploring the sports rich history, and working with England Netball to develop the archive in the future."

The archive includes a large collection of documents, pictures, videos and memorabilia covering the history of "women’s basketball" as it was originally known.