Although rugby’s great split of 1895 is often portrayed as a professional breakaway, it also led to the vast majority of amateur rugby clubs in the north of England leaving the RFU and joining the Northern Union. This week’s episode takes a look at the early history of rugby league below the professional level, examining its rise, fall, and rise again as it battled with the effects of war and the impact of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

For more on the history of rugby and the other football codes, take a look at (where you can find the links for this episode) and follow me on Twitter at @collinstony

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