News Article

The History Of the London Varsity

The Origin

The rivalry between King's and UCL dates back over two centuries to their very founding. King's was founded in 1826 as an Anglican counterpart to the secular London University (which would later be known as University College London or UCL). 

Their rivalry played out amongst the students in Rag events where they would combine challenging authority with raising money for charity. Alongside the fundraising activities, students from each institution continually tried to one-up each other, leading to a range of encounters that often required police intervention. 

Kidnapping the Mascots 

One of the long-running activities they took part in was to capture each other's mascots. King's has been represented by "Reggie", the model lion, since 1923, and UCL had "Phineas Maclino", a sign featuring kilted highlander, which had been their mascot since 1900. Reggie was the victim of repeated kidnapping attempts with UCL students dumping him anywhere from Inverness to Surrey. Eventually, King's engineering students filled him with concrete to stave off future attempts. However, King's students were far from innocent as they repeatedly kidnapped Phineas and even stole the preserved head of Jeremy Bentham (the spiritual founder of UCL) and reportedly played football with it. 

The London Varsity 

The modern-day rivalry plays out during the London Varsity. Starting as a rugby game between King's and UCL in 2004, the London Varsity grew to include up to 30 sporting fixtures ranging from Ultimate Frisbee and Taekwando to Rugby and Basketball. It's now called the London Varsity Series and will be feature over 20 sporting fixtures from the 17th-21st of March. King's will be aiming to take the trophy back from UCL, who have held it since our last win in 2016.



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