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World Rugby Museum

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1891
Held at: World Rugby Museum, Twickenham
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Full title: World Rugby Museum
Date(s): 1861-2003
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: Approximately 900 volumes, 95 boxes, 20 files, 500 slides, and 8000 photographs.
Name of creator(s): Rugby Football Union | 1871-
English Schools Rugby Union | 1904-1909
English Public and Grammar Schools Union | 1948-1949
English Schools Rugby Football Unions | 1949-
Oxford University Rugby Union Football Club | 1869-
Hampshire Rugby Union Club
Bradford Football Club
Nottinghamshire County Rugby Football Union
Croydon Rugby Football Club


Administrative/Biographical history:

There is evidence that football games have been played in England since the 11th century. During the early 19th century, football games became a popular recreation in English public schools. Various schools developed their own rules for the game. The rules of the game developed by Rugby School were gradually taken all over Britain and the rest of the world.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) was founded 1871 for the purpose of standardising the rules of the game worldwide, to facilitate inter-club competitions. A committee was formed and three former Rugby School pupils were invited to write a set of laws, which were approved in Jun 1871. The first international match was played between Scottish and English members of the Union in March 1871, and ended in a Scottish victory.

National Rugby Unions were gradually formed with the Scottish Rugby Union being the first in 1873, the Irish Rugby Union in 1879 and the Welsh Rugby Union in 1881.

The English RFU continued to be the law making body for the game. In 1886, an International Rugby Board was formed by Scotland, Ireland and Wales, which challenged English rulemaking pre-eminence. It was not until 1890 that England agreed to send representatives to this Board. The International Board gradually took over more responsibility for making the laws and running the game.

In 1893, the strict amateur code of the game was challenged by reports of some players in the North of England were being paid for playing. The Union set up an enquiry, and the club concerned was suspended. The dispute was not entirely settled however and in 1895, twenty-two clubs seceded from the RFU and formed the Northern Union (later known as the Rugby League).

RFU was responsible for the management of the England side, whose games were played on various club grounds. In 1906, the RFU Committee asked the Finance Sub-Committee to investigate the feasibility of purchasing land and building a stadium for the exclusive use of playing Rugby. A site at Twickenham was purchased in 1907, and in 1909 the first match was held there, between the Richmond and Harlequin clubs, with the first international match taking place there in 1910 (England v Wales).

There are a number of trophies for which matches are played, including the Calcutta Cup - a trophy donated by the Calcutta Rugby Football Club, 1878, and given to the winner for an annual England Scotland match, first played in 1879; the Millennium Trophy, presented by the City of Dublin on its millennium year - 1988, for the winner of an annual Ireland England game; the Six Nations' Trophy (formerly the Five Nations Trophy) involving teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, and Italy, inaugurated in 1993. One of the oldest annual fixtures is however the Oxford University versus Cambridge University match first played in 1872.

In 1995, the International Rugby Board agreed that the amateur game become open, despite the opposition of the RFU. The RFU itself has since revised its management structure, and now consists of a Council, a Chief Executive Officer and a Management Board.

English Schools Rugby Union (ESRU) was formed in 1904 to coordinate the game played by those under the school leaving age (at that time 14 years at the beginning of the Autumn term). From 1948 to 1970, the age limit was set at 15 years.
The English Public and Grammar Schools Union (EPGSRFU) formed in 1948, to coordinate the game played by pupils older that the statutory school leaving age. In 1949, the EPGSRFU and RSRU amalgamated to form the English Schools Rugby Football Unions (ESRFU) with two groups - the ESRFU (Under 15 group) and the ERFU (over 15 Group). By 1960, the groups had changed to become the ESRFU (15 Group) and the ESRFU (19 Group). After a slow start, cooperation between the two groups was improved by the production of a handbook, an England Tie, the coordination of trials and International Match fixtures and the sending of minutes of both groups to all County Secretaries.

In 1984, the Rugby Football Union for Women was formed as the official governing body. Run by an executive committee of volunteers, it is recognised by the RFU and holds associate status. Matches are played from club to international level, and the England women's side compete in a Six Nations Championship, as well as a Rugby World Cup.


Scope and content/abstract:

Archive of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and related bodies comprising:

Rugby Football Union minutes 1871-1995; Index to RFU minutes, 1920-[1934]; Sub Committee minutes, 1895-1899, 1907-1913, 1920-1934; Index to Sub-Committee minutes 1920-[1934]; RFU Laws sub-committee minutes, 1982-1984; RFU Amateur status sub-committee minutes, 1984-1992; RFU forward planning sub-committee minutes, 1984-1993; Papers of the Working Party on Youth Rugby, 1994-1996; Two annotated copies of draft agreement for visit of the British Isles Rugby Union to South Africa, Rhodesia, and South West Africa, 1955 (1 file); minutes of the Southern Group (Southern Division) Committee [of the RFU County Championships] 1951-1982; Printed minutes of the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB) 1886-2001; Unsigned, typescript minutes of the annual meeting of the IRFB, and meetings of the Committee of the Home Unions, 1947-1968, 1960-1968; minutes of the English Schools Rugby Unions and ESRFU (15 Group), and committee minutes 1904- 1970.

Deed of Conveyance of the Twickenham stadium site, 1907; declaration of Trust, 1908; block plan for the Rugby Union Twickenham Ground; RFU notice of sale of debentures to finance new stand [1908]; Balance sheets relating to matches, 1905; statement of the Rugby Football Union as to the International Disagreement; Correspondence: G A James Rothsy to A G Guillemand, president of the RFU, 1877-1879 relating to the Calcutta Cup; rules of the Calcutta Football Club; lists of referees (and their matches,) 1920s-1960s; RFU visitors books, 1939-1995.

RFU financial Records including, ledgers 1924-1985; financial journal, 1946-1974; Payments - match accounts, 1894-1914; Payments - cost of management 1894-1922; Payments, 1966-1984; petty cash books, 1965-1985; receipts, 1894-1901,1959-1975; S F Coopper accounts notebook, 1930-1934.

RFU printed Byelaws and laws of the game 1866-1984; RFU Handbook, 1984-2004; Holborn to Mayfair condensed minutes of the RFU printed for the private use of members of the RFU Committee, compiled by Eric Watts Moses, Vol 1, 1959-1975, also typescript manuscript of volumes 3.

Personal papers collections comprising:

Papers of Surgeon Captain (later Rear Admiral) L B 'Ginger' Osborne RN, manager of the British Isles tour to Australia, New Zealand and Ceylon, Mar-Oct 1950, Chairman of the England Selection Committee and the Royal Navy representative on the RFU Committee, and President of the RFU, 1957-1958, comprising material relating to the 1950 tour including daily logbook, player profile sheets, lists of team and playing position, game itineraries, photographs of players and other non match tour events and sights, papers relating to the journey home, and news cuttings. Also photographs, news cuttings and ephemera relating to Navy matches, 1937-1938; photographs and news cuttings of Navy, RAF and Army matches, 1946, 1948; news cuttings relating to international matches, 1954-1955; and other ephemera relating to Osborne, 1950-1974.

Papers of Peter G Brook, President of the RFU, 1997-1998, relating to RFU meetings, 1994-1997.

Diary of Charles Mathers, Bramley, Yorkshire, recording visit to Australia and NZ, 1888; diary of Barrie B Bennetts, containing an account of the English Football Club tour to the Argentine, 1910; papers of Capt E V Barnes, RAC, comprising minutes of the Cairo Area Sports Control Board Rugby Union Referees Society, 1945-1946; letter of Eric Rickard, 18 Oct 1924, relating to the NZ game in Yorkshire, 1924; manuscript attributed to Vice Admiral Percy Royds RN, President of RFU 1927-1928, containing notes relating to a lecture on rugby [1930s]; papers of J C Gibbs, English Rugby International player, comprising selection letters, news cuttings, and ephemera, 1923-1929; papers of Charles Lionel John 'Bill' Bailey, member of Blackheath Rugby Club, including letters relating to playing for invitation sides 1954-1961; papers of J G Bell, member of Carlisle Rugby Club, including letters of selection reserve player for England International matches, 1912; football notes of A Barton Green- Bath, Somerset, England etc, matches from , 1897-[1898] containing news cuttings, reports of matches; scrap book of R W Poulton, containing news cuttings, selection notices, lists Rugby School football fixtures, 1904-1910; scrapbook of Dr L Hughes, concerning the British Team in South America, 1936, containing cuttings, programmes, menus etc; volume of F Douglas Prentice, containing letters, telegrams, news cuttings, photos, dinner programmes , 1928 , and scrap book containing cuttings relating to F D Prentice, and the tour of Argentina 1936; papers from Timothy W J Auty - news cuttings, letters photocopies, typescript notes of reports 1893-1973.

News cuttings collection comprising general rugby cuttings, 1858-2002; home nations rugby cuttings mid 1930s; loose news cuttings 1930s-1990s.

Scrap books containing news cuttings describing football matches played by H W Little, 1873-1878; scrap book of Gordon Bailey containing cuttings, photos, 1893-1908; Scrap book containing photocopies of cuttings and some photos, relating to an English tour of Australia, 1899; Scrap book with cutting about the tour of British team to NZ, [1904]; Scrap book relating to Charles J B Marriot, 1907-1908; Scrap book with cuttings re English football team 1891-1907; Scrap book of cuttings of mainly of Harlequins club, 1909-1910; scrap books titled 'Adrian Stoop, His Playing Days', 1902-1912, 1939 (4 vols); Scrap book of cartoons, compiled by H O Burze, West Hampstead, London, mainly on Adrian Stoop (1883-1957), 1913-1914; Scrap book of Home Unions Rugby, 1919-1925; Scrap book of cuttings relating to the NZ All Blacks tour 1925-1925; RFU News cuttings scrap book, vol 1 1927-1929, vol 2 1929-1930; scrapbook of the British Rugby Tour 1930, New Zealand and Australia, containing cuttings, telegrams, programmes, photos, 1929-1930, donated to RFU by NZ RFU, Aug 1930; Scrap book of news cuttings 1925-1928; Scrap book with cuttings , photos, programmes, for visiting teams at the British Sportsman's Club (visiting teams) 1927- 1935; Scrap book of International Championship 1928-1931; Scrapbook of the British Rugby Tour 1930 New Zealand and Australia, 1929-1930; News cuttings, South African Rugby Football Tour, 1931-1932; Rugby Football League, Olympic Games; three scrap books relating to Prince Alexander Obolensky, rugby player, 1935-1939; album of press photographs of Obolensky 1935-1937; Scrap book of B Howlett, containing cuttings, programmes 1930-1932; Scrap book of B Howlett - Home Unions Rugby, 1933-1934; Press cuttings of the British tour of the Argentine, 1936; 1938 British Team in South Africa scrap book; Scrap book titled Sporting Record, 1945-1950 containing cuttings and programmes, relating to cricket, RFU, Ice Hockey, Athletic sports, Association Football; Scrap book with newspaper cuttings, and photographs of the Anglo Australian Rugby Football Team, 1904, 1904, and team reunions, 1949-1958; Scrap book of British Lions tour of South Africa, 1962; scrap books including: players and teams 1920s-1960s; British and Irish Lions tour photos, 1955; Internationals 1957-1963;

autographs of rugby players and other sportsman, 1938; photograph album of The English Football team in South Africa, 1891; photographs, 1861-2003, relating to International teams worldwide, Twickenham Stadium, Clubs, and players; slides 1870s-2003, mainly depicting museum objects;

records of Rugby Clubs comprising: Oxford University Rugby Union Football Club (OURFC), minutes, 1869-1903; volume containing cuttings of lists of fixtures and reports of matches, copies of minutes of General (Captain's) Meetings of the OURFC, 1919, and list of captains, with related correspondence; Hampshire Rugby Union Club minutes, 1910-1914, 1919-1965; Richmond Athletic Association Board meeting minutes, 1890-1898; Bradford Football Club - scrap book of news cuttings on J Laurie Hickson 1885-1890, 1907, 1913-1914; Nottinghamshire County Rugby Football Union, Easter Tour, 1922 - souvenir album - photos and printed text; Croydon Rugby Football Club scrapbook of cuttings, programmes, invitations, compiled by Frank W Chamberlain, 1910-1911; printed Rugby Union match programmes including Bound set of RFU programmes, including Oxford, Cambridge and armed services matches, 1945-2000; World Cup programmes, 1987-1999; Oxford and Cambridge match programmes 1894-2002; Services (Army, RAF & RN) matches, 1912-2003; Cup finals and semi-finals on neutral grounds, 1971-2002; divisional matches, 1973-1994; Miscellaneous matches, 1923-1997; British Universities Sports Association / Universities Athletic Association programmes, 1967-1999; Sevens competitions, 1939-2003; Scottish Rugby programmes, 1935-1939; County matches; Middlesex Sevens; Schoolboy matches and internationals; matches in World War One; England trial matches; England tour matches; England on-capped games; internationals and home international matches and tour matches for England, Australia, Argentina, France, Ireland, New Zealand and Maoris, Italy, Scotland, South Africa, Wales, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, and the rest of world; under 21s international; non-capped and trial matches for Scotland, Wales and the rest of world; Lions tour in New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia.

Printed programmes of British rugby clubs, including London Wasps Rugby Club, 1956-2003; Harlequin Football Club, 1910-1930 and other clubs including Bristol, London Welsh, London Irish, Rosslyn Park, Saracens; Halifax Rugby League Centenary World Cup 1995; Rugby League match programmes, 1933-2000;

Material relating to Rugby Football Union for Women including Press releases 2002; copies of In touch - newsletter of the Women's Rugby Football Union, 1986/7-1990; and related papers; Women's Rugby match programmes, 1983-2003; typescript manuscripts 'A history of the proceedings of the International Rugby Football Board, supplement, No 1 1961-1972', compiled by Eric Watts Moses, Jan 1973; 'The future of Girls/Women's Rugby Union - what barriers effect the participation levels of girl's rugby?', a special study presented as part of the requirement for the degree of BA (Hons), Tracy Larvin, University College of Rippon & York St John, Feb 1999;

Publications comprising: The RFU Delegation of powers to County Committees, London, 1890; International Rugby Board publications including Notes for the guidance of Referees, as approved by the International Rugby Football Board, 1951; 1954; 1955; 1957; IRB Instructions and Notes for Guidance of Referees 1968; 1969; 1970; RFU The Laws of the game of Rugby Football, as framed by the International Rugby Football Board, for acceptance at the AGM, 27 Jun 1958 (item 7), with effect from 1 Sept 1958; IRFB Rulings on the Laws of the game, 1946-1966, Jun 1966; IRFB Report of the Committee on Revision of the Laws of the Game and Revised text, Oct 1968; IRFB, Laws of the Game, 1969; Laws of the game of Rugby Football (as framed by the IRFB), 1970, 1997, 2000; IRB the laws of the game of Rugby Union, 2002;

journals relating to Rugby Football including Pastime, the lawn-tennis journal and weekly record of football, athletics, cycling and aquatics, N L Jackson, editor, The Cricket Press, London, vol 3, 1884-1895; Rugby Football (a weekly record of the game), 1923-1936; Rugby News and notes, F C Potter-Irwin (ed) 1924-1925; Rugby Football Weekly, J P Jordan, (editor) 1928- 1929; Rugger, 1947-1958; Rugby world, 1960-2000; Rugby Post 1981-1983; Rugby world and post, 1985-1988; Rugby News 1989-2001;

annuals relating to Rugby Football including John Lillywhite's Football Annual, Charles W Alcock (ed), 1868-1909; The Football Handbook, 1888-1908 (incomplete); The Pall Mall Gazette Rugby Football Annual, 1910-1911; Spalding's Rugby Football Annual for 1911; The Rugby Football Annual, 1913/14-1939/40; John Wisden's Rugby Football Almanack 1923-1926; Record of Sports, Royal Insurance Co Ltd, 1907; Sports Records, Prudential Assurance Co, Chief Office, Holborn Bar, London, 1928; Playfair Rugby Annuals, 1948-1972; Rothmans Rugby Year Book 1973-2000; IRB Rugby Year Book, 2001/2-2002/3;

ephemera including club fixture cards, 1945 to present; British Sportsman's Club, menus and table plans, 1925-2002 (4 folders); Postcards relating to Rugby, (4 boxes); Postage stamps and first day covers relating to Rugby, from various nations, 1964-1991 (1 file); Tour itineraries for matches and tournaments; menus and invitations for international dinners.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

By appointment only. Contact the World Rugby Museum, Twickenham Stadium, Rugby Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1 1DZ; Tel 020 8892 8877;

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies available

Finding aids:

The collection is mostly uncatalogued.

Archival Information

Archival history:

The museum, archive and library collection was initially stored in the Secretary's house, on the RFU grounds, then transferred to the old West stand, then the South Stand museum room and finally in the New East stand in 1995.

Immediate source of acquisition:

RFU material transferred from the RFU offices at regular intervals. Other material has been received over a period of time from various unrecorded donors.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Archives of Scottish Rugby Union, held by the Library of the Scottish Rugby Union, Murrayfield, Edinburgh.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: Historical Manuscripts Commission's On-Line National Register of Archives; Rugby Museum web site (http//www.
Compiled by Alison Field as part of the London Signpost Survey Project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
September 2003

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