100 Years of British University Sport

This year marks 100 years of British University Sport (now known as BUCS). The University of Leeds was one of the original ten founding members.

Despite being called BUCS today, British University Sport began 100 years ago thanks to the formation of the Inter-varsity board of England and Wales in 1919.

Firstly, in February 1918, the Presidents of University Unions conference in Manchester called for the need to establish an ‘association’ to promote the development of sport at university. Afterwards, the Inter-Varsity Athletics Board of England and Wales held its first ever inter-varsity meeting consisting of nine universities.

Uni of Leeds Athletics Club, 1930

University of Leeds Athletics Club, 1930. Courtesy of the University of Leeds Special Collections.

Following on from this, in March 1919, the board formalised the first ever athletics meeting involving ten universities.
We are one of the ten founding institutions; alongside Aberystwyth, Bangor, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester and Sheffield.

So, on the 28th May 1919, the first ever athletic meet took place in Manchester. Nine of the ten founding universities competed and this marked the official beginning of University sport in the UK.

In 1922, other sports added to the programme were hockey, association football, rugby union and swimming. If you want to read more about the history of BUCS and university sport, visit the BUCS website here.

University of Leeds Women's Hockey, 1912

University of Leeds Women’s Hockey, 1912. Courtesy of Frances Cook.

We’ve worked with the Alumni Office to gather historic photographs of our sports teams from the last 100 years (and more!). Have a browse through our Facebook album here.

Finally, if you have any memories or photographs of your sporting days at Leeds, please submit them to us via this form and we’ll share the best ones.

University of Leeds Devonshire Hall Football 1970-71

University of Leeds Devonshire Hall Football 1970-71

BUCS have launched a Hall of Fame and ‘100 People of University Sport‘ to commemorate the centenary of British University Sport.