University Sports

Sports are still an important part of University life and we have a good photographic record of them from the later 19th century onwards. The photograph here shows the 1908 Athletics Team.

The first athletic club annual sports were held in 1866, pre-dating the formation of the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association by 17 years. There were 16 events including a stilt race. Thousands of spectators were often present in the later 1860s and these early events later led to Inter-University championships.

The team members are shown in a fairly close-up view, even allowing hairs on the athletes’ legs to be seen! Most of the nine strong team are seated on chairs and on grass but the studio ‘feel’ suggests the backdrop of trees is artificial.

At this time Ian Dickson was one of the most prominent athletes winning many sprint races and finishing second in the Scottish Amateur Athletics Championships in the 440 yards to an athlete who was soon to become an Olympic medallist.

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