Classic Rugby League Pictures

Welcome to the Rugby League Oral History Project

The ‘Up and Under’ Rugby League Oral History Project ended in September 2009.

In all the memories of over 100 interviewees were recorded and now form a permanent collection which is held at the University of Huddersfield as part of the Rugby Football League archive. Through the project this website with clips from 26 of the interviews was also created and the inaugural ‘Sport and Oral History’ Conference was held at the University in April 2009.


We’re also happy to announce that a book of extracts from the interviews was published in October 2010.

Entitled ‘No Sand Dunes in Featherstone’: Memories of West Yorkshire Rugby League the book is published by London League Publications Ltd.




The book features recollections of people’s earliest memories of the game, great matches and tours, playing, refereeing, reporting on the game, helping run the game and supporting their team. 

It includes contributions from John Atkinson, Maurice Bamford, David Barends, Alf Burnell, Graham Chalkley, Bak Diabira, Trevor Foster, Peter Fox, Geoff Gunney, Karl Harrison, David Hinchliffe, Harry Jepson, Mick Morgan, Sam Morton, Garfield Owen, Ken Senior, Tommy Smales, Brian Smith, Francis Stephenson, Billy Thompson, Frank Watson and Dave Woods.






Hugely Successful Sport and Oral History Conference

dsc_0649_copy_400 dsc_0614edit_400 dsc_0680_copy_400   

The highly successful Sport and Oral History conference held at the University in April, attracted delegates from across the globe, including Australia, the United States, Holland and Ireland. Organised by the University's Centre for Oral History Research, the conference lasted over two days and brought together some of the leading sports oral historians. To read more and listen to recordings of the papers click on this link

A selection of photographs from the conference is also available in the gallery section of this website.

Our mission statement

By recording and then disseminating the oral reminiscences of the Rugby League community in West Yorkshire - players, officials and spectators - this project will preserve, celebrate and broaden recognition of the sport's rich social and cultural history in the region.

 This project has been funded by an £85,000 grant from the University of Huddersfield. Following its ground breaking relationship with the Huddersfield Giants, the award develops further the University's links with both the sport and the communities of West Yorkshire in which it is played by providing a substantial boost to the promotion of Rugby League heritage.

Contact us

In order to set up a permanent archive, we would like to interview anyone associated with professional or amateur rugby league in West Yorkshire, including supporters, players, referees, administrators and journalists. So, if you have memories of rugby league in West Yorkshire, from its grassroots level right up to the professional game, please contact us.

To contact us please click here.


In addition to all the people who have taken part in the project, we would like to thank Andrew Hardcastle, Phil Caplan, Les Hoole, the Bradford Bulls Heritage Project and the Rugby Football League Archives for their kind permission in allowing us to reproduce images they have published through various books and websites.

The project has also benefited greatly from contributions that have been made by a number of University of Huddersfield students on work placements. We would like to thank; Dave Nichols, Craig Kemp, Ian Slattery, Louise Hall Gemma Robinson and Shuji Nakazawa for all their hard work.

This is a not-for-profit project which uses images to provide context for audio clips which are made available for general public interest. Whilst every effort has been made to do so, it has not always been possible to ascertain the origins of the photographs which have been used. We apologise if there has been any inadvertent breach of copyright and if any oversights have been made, we would be happy to rectify them.