Up and Under Rugby League Oral History project

Scope and Content

Between 2007 and 2009, Rob Light, Project Manager of the 'Up and Under' Oral History Project at the University of Huddersfield created around 100 oral history recordings.

Those interviewed include John Atkinson; Maurice Bamford; David Barends; Doris Beard; John Beaumont; Keith Bell; Jackie Blackburn; Eddie Bottomley; Alan Bradford; Keith Bridges; Keith Burhouse; Alf Burnell; Ikram Butt; Graham Chalkley; Andy Coldrick; Phil Crabtree; Ken Dean; Bak Diabira; Malcolm Dixon; John Downes; Albert Eyre; Peter Fox; Carl Gibson; David Gronow; Geoff Gunney; Cora Haley; Len Haley; Derek Hallas; Fred Halliday; Karl Harrison; Chris Hawksworth; John Henderson; David Hinchliffe; Phil Hodgson; Donald Hunt; Eddie Illingworth; David Ingham; Roger Ingham; Harry Jepson; Gill and Richard Johnson; Paul Kilbride; John Kitson; Linda Kitson; Bryn Knowelden; Jack Merewood; Mick Morgan; Sam Morton; Garfield Owen; Stanley Pickles; Sid Rookes; Ken Senior; John Sheridan;. Bernard Shooman; Neil Shuttleworth; Tommy Smales; Brian Smith; Geoff Smith; Francis Stephenson; Mick Sullivan; Billy Thompson; Stan Timmins; Frank Wagstaff; Joe Warham; Trevor Ward; Harry Waring; Frank Watson; Ronnie Wolfenden. Dave Woods; Geoff Wright.

The interviews take the form of life stories which reflect the ways in which Rugby League has interacted with broader events in West Yorkshire. Almost every session began with an account of the interviewees first memories of rugby league. All but one interviewees had a strong connection with West Yorkshire. The one exception was Bryn Knowelden , who was one of the last surviving 1946 British Lions 'Indomitables' tourists.

Besides digital recordings there is one box of paperwork generated by the project. This includes correspondence and completed interviewee waiver forms.

Administrative / Biographical History

The project was funded by an internal grant from the University of Huddersfield to further links with the rugby league community in West Yorkshire following its sponsorship deal with the Huddersfield Giants. The aim of the 'Up and Under' Rugby League Oral History project was to 'preserve, celebrate and broaden recognition of rugby league' rich social and cultural history in West Yorkshire.' Interviewees were drawn from across the rugby league community in West Yorkshire and included professional current and ex-players, referees, amateurs, enthusiasts and supporters

Access Information

Available to all researchers, by appointment.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited with the University of Huddersfield Library by Rob Light at the end of the project in Sept 2009.

Other Finding Aids

A full list of people interviewed for this project can be consulted in the searchroom.

Alternative Form Available

Extracts of interviews made during the course of this project are included in: Rob Light, No Sand Dunes in Featherstone: Memories of West Yorkshire Rugby League,(London, 2010).

Related Material

The University of Huddersfield Archive holds the Rugby Football League Archive which includes minute books, correspondence, financial records, players records and club fanzines and programmes, along with material donated or loaned by ex-players and enthusiasts.

The University of Huddersfield Library Special Collections holds a collection of rugby league books and periodicals. A full list is available for consultation in the search room.

The University Archive also holds other digital recordings of ex-player interviews created during the 'Peoples Record' Rugby Football League Oral History Project (MLA) which ran between Oct 2009- Feb 2010.

The Gillette Rugby League Heritage Centre, at the George Hotel, Huddersfield, is a permanent exhibition dedicated to the sport of rugby league. http://www.rlheritage.co.uk/. The collections include sporting ephemera and audio visual displays.

Researcher interested in a specific team should also contact individual clubs, many of whom still retain their own records and actively collect souvenir programmes and other ephemera.


The interviews created during this project are used extensively in the book, Rob Light, No Sand Dunes in Featherstone: Memories of West Yorkshire Rugby League,(London, 2010).

Geographical Names