100 Years of British University Sport

Cleckheaton Athletics, Women's 100m, 1974

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.

Rugby League Trophy Champions


Our Rugby League team were crowned British University and College Sport Trophy Champions as they dominated Swansea 63-22 in the Final at Loughborough.

Our Rugby League team controlled most of the game scoring 18 points within the first 15 minutes of the match. Swansea soon woke up but couldn’t catch our teams lead as the half time score read 32-16.

Despite Swansea coming back near the end of the first half our team opened the second half with another try to extend our lead. The final score was 63-22 to us; a great confidence boost ahead of the play offs in the next few weeks. Well done to captain Ben Finder coming away as Man of the Match.

Our womens badminton team faced a tough task in the BUCS Championship final as they lost 8-0 to home side Loughborough.

The match of the day featured Chloe Birch, Loughborough’s number one facing our number one Helena Lewczynska. It was a heated match with Helena pushing England’s number 4  on every point, this soon frustrated her and when Helena was on game point she requested a new shuttlecock which could have been seen to knock Helena’s winning rhythm. The match finished 22-20 21-19 to the Loughborough student but it could have gone either way.

Our womens team have had a brilliant season and to be second best in the country in badminton is a fantastic achievement – well done ladies on your silver medals.

Both teams have put a great deal of hard work and dedication which resulted in getting to the final which is a fantastic accomplishment.