York Rugby League Club

Scope and Content

This collection includes material relating to the York Rugby League Club dating from 1881-1990. Includes meeting minutes, photographs and promotional material from the Interworks Cup games of 1988 and 1990.

Administrative / Biographical History

The York Rugby League Club was founded in 1868, and initially played both association and rugby football. The team colours are amber and black. The Club played on the Gentleman's Grounds on Wigginton Road until they were forced out by financial problems in early 1880s, after which they played on Poad's Fields for a short time. In 1885 York Lunatic Asylum leased them a piece of land at the end of Clarence Street to use as playing grounds.

In 1895, the Club purchased the Waterman's Mission Hut on Fishergate, which was their first grandstand and included dressing rooms and up until 1931, the Club had it's Headquarters at the Exchange Hotel on St Sampson's Square.

Initially, the Rugby League Club was not particularly well-known or successful. However, in the mid-1870s, the team began to attract a higher standard of player. In 1877 they were one of several regional teams to inaugurate the Yorkshire Challenge Cup.

After the First World War, the enthusiasm and support of Alderman Sir W.A. Forster Todd, who was also the Club's president, significantly raised the Club's profile. By 1922 they claimed to be the premier winter sport organization in the city, and this was supported by the large crowds of supporters who turned out for games at the Clarence Street grounds. The Forster Todd Challenge Cup was established to raise money for local charities.

The Club has had several different names during its history. Until c.1927, the team was known as the Northern Rugby Football Union, which itself was the successor to the York Rugby Union Club. Due to financial problems in the 1980s, the club was forced to sell the Clarence Street grounds in 1990. They moved to Huntington Stadium (formerly Ryedale Stadium) and became known as Ryedale-York. Following the move to summer rugby in 1996, the team was re-named the York Wasps.

Conditions Governing Access

Material is available subject to the usual terms and conditions of access to Archives and Local History collections.

Other Finding Aids

More detailed finding aids for this collection can be found online by searching the Explore website ( www.exploreyork.org.uk)

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Georgie Myler, Community Collections Assistant, September 2014.

Conditions Governing Use

Images are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.