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.

Gryphons Student Sport Conference 2015


The first Student Sport Conference at the University of Leeds will be held on Thursday the 24th September.


The conference aims to inspire students to reach their potential through sport and will have 3 key themes;


  • Reaching Your Potential-Workshops in this theme will focus on performance sport and how to develop performance both individually and in your clubs.


  • Health and Wellbeing – Workshops in this theme will focus on participation and how students can get involved in physical activity at the University. This will include talks on This Girl Can and Get Out, Get Active.


  • Broadening Skills and Horizons – Workshops in this theme will focus on the role sport can play on personal development and employability. This will include practical activities linked to volunteering and community work.


The conference is open to all students studying at the University of Leeds and is FREE of charge.


Register Your Interest

To register your interest and to receive more information about the conference please complete the online form.