WP Carpmael conceived his brilliant idea late one evening in 1890 in Leuchters Restaurant, Bradford, at a time when practically every club ceased playing in early March.

There were no tours and players just “packed up” until the following season, but his scheme for collecting a touring side from all sources; to tackle a few leading clubs in the land, instantly received support from the best, and today this support is as strong as ever.

In spite of the fact that many clubs have their own tours and that the commitment demanded from the top players with Club, League, Cup, Divisional and International squads increases annually.

Carpmael’s great idea that the Barbarian Club should be absolutely cosmopolitan with the aim of spreading good-fellowship amongst all rugby football players has been rigidly adhered to by those who have followed him in the management of the club. Membership is by invitation and the only qualifications considered when issuing an invitation are; that the player’s football is of a good enough standard and secondly that he should behave himself on and off the field. There is no discrimination whatsoever by race, colour or creed.

Where it all started: Leuchters Restaurant, Bradford

Of the 2,800 or so members – rugby men from the world over of diverse nationalities and types – all are judged to have been worthy of upholding the Barbarian motto instituted by the Right Reverend W.J. Carey (former Bishop of Bloemfontein and an original member) which is:

“Rugby Football is a game for gentlemen in all classes, but for no bad sportsman in any class”.

That an immense amount of good has been done cannot be disputed. Players from different clubs and countries rarely had the opportunity of playing on the same side, they were always opponents, and the chance of now and again playing with, instead of against, one another was welcomed.