This week’s ‘Rugby Reloaded’ explores the book that did more to shape the modern sporting world than any other: Tom Brown’s School Days. When it was published in 1857, it was the Harry Potter of its day, but it went on to influence not just rugby football, but all football codes and all modern sports, not least the Olympic movement.

But what exactly was its message and what lessons did it expect its readers to learn? Underneath the surface, its coming of age story reflects all the prejudices and narrow-mindedness of Victorian Britain – and would their stamp on sport even in the 21st Century.

For more on the history of rugby and the other football codes, together with show notes and links for this episode, visit

One thought on “148. Tom Brown’s School Days”

Leave a Reply