Founded in 1843, the Guy’s Hospital Rugby Club came into being only a few years after pupils at Rugby School decided to liven up traditional football matches by picking up and running with the ball.
The foundation of Guy’s Hospital Rugby Club in 1843 is accepted by both the Rugby Football Union and the Guinness Book of Records and makes Guy’s Hospital Rugby Football Club (now GKT) the oldest rugby club in the world.
Although challenged by several other clubs, the claim for Guy’s is supported by circumstantial evidence and relates to a score fixture from the 1883-84 season which referred to the 40th season of the club, alongside submissions from distinguished officials in 1863 and 1864, currently no existing club has advanced an earlier claim.
Clubs were also set up at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1864 and King’s College in 1869. All three clubs competed in the United Hospital Cup and were founding members of the Rugby Football Union in 1871, when representatives from 22 different university colleges, schools and local clubs met in London to agree the first common set of rules for the game.