The Rugby Football Museum

The Rugby Football Museum

To fund the development and improvement of the Rugby Football Museum. Further information can be found at

We did it!

On 26th Jan 2017 we successfully raised £1,145 with 16 supporters in 56 days



Not often in this modern world does an amazing true life story such as this present itself.  Rugby our great sport is the only sport to be named after the town where it started, Rugby. The town has a small museum. Then we discover the museum is housed in the building where James Gilbert started his rugby ball business in 1850. Then to top it all, this building is located only 150 yards away from that hallowed piece of turf (The Close) where William Webb Ellis gathered the ball and ran with it in 1823. It just doesnt get better than this

However at present the museum only hosts a very small collection of artefacts and memorabila due to the lack of space and organisation. 

Passionate about rugby and regular visitors to the museum, we have discovered with the help of museum friends, that hidden away in the buildings store rooms, are thousands of further artefacts and memorabilia, kept in boxes and cupboards, that have never been seen by rugby fans. AND WE WANT TO CHANGE THIS.


Our plan is ambitious, but we believe that rugby fans and supporters, wherever they live will understand and support this dream. We have been fortunate enough to have a glimpse of some of these amazing artefacts that are hidden away, and we want to make them available to everyone, and display them, in the best possible way. Furthermore not only do we have the opportunity to share and show these historical pieces, but also renovate the entire building as well.

This is the amazing and inspiring history of this great game of rugby and we want to bring it out into the open for all to see.


This small museum can only display a small amount of memorabilia, have a look for yourself.

The rest of this fantastic historical building (nearly 85%) is used by a sports shop, and a company involved in storage and distribution, but still includes the original stich room dating back to 1850. This is what it looks like at the moment (these workbenches are the original James Gilbert benches).

Fortunately they know how important it is to secure and preserve this building and the items for future generations, and they have kindly agreed to help us with our ambition.


Hidden in the buildings store rooms are thousands of artefacts and memorabilia from around the world. These need to be displayed! There are balls, signatures. shirts, trophies, pictures, some of which date back to the mid-19th century, just years after the game was invented. Some of which have been sent from half way around the world.

Here see for yourselves.


(We have put lots more up on the website at

So we are calling on all Rugby fans, and followers, from around the world, to help us get these historical items on display. So all who are interested in this great game can enjoy.


We are just 3 passionate Rugby friends (Jeremy, Jean-Francois, and Yvon) who are great fans of the game. We love Rugby, the values, and the traditions it stands for. We want to protect its history and our mission is to develop and refurbish this historical building to allow all to enjoy and experience, and to deliver a true home for the game in the town where it all began.


As we mentioned our plans are ambitious and the total project plan will be in the region of £1m, but their are a lot of fans out there, and with the common values we all hold, we feel we can together achieve this. However we also realise that we need to deliver this in stages.

Initially we need to find out what treasures we have, Therefore we need to investigate, photograph and catalogue all of the items hidden in these store rooms. We need to repair and make good the wall of fame (where your name will appear). We need to redecorate a number of rooms in readiness for displays and exhibitions and we need to improve lighting and security systems. We have alot of willing volunteers lined up to help and your money will help us buy the products and specialised services required at this early stage. We would also like to develop a interactive website so that all of our supporters can follow and participate with us on this fantastic journey.

This will be followed by the first stage of the redevelopment process which is to recreate the original Gilbert Workshop stitch room which still contains many of the original tools, dating back to 1850. This will allow the museum to give live demonstrations, and if they want, teach visitors. We also want to hire two archivists with a passion for the game to explore these boxes, crates and files, to make a digital inventory. Then we will refurbish the rest of the first floor to create viewing areas and cabinets. We also want to create a new entrance in the Victorian passageway running down one side of the building.

Stage 2 will involve extending the second floor of the building (planning permission has been granted) thus creating more space for exhibitions.  We will need to provide disabled access and interactive features to make it a truly memorable experience. 

Stage 3 will be to extend and renovate the third floor allowing more of the same.

This really is an opportunity for all Rugby fans, players, clubs, actually the whole Rugby family to create a unique destination and permanent home for generations to come. To celebrate Rugby its history and its players.


Firstly the feeling of pride, knowing that you have contributed to secure the history of this great game.

Secondly the satisfaction that your name will actually go down in history as a friend of the museum. "WE MEAN THIS LITERALLY" As we are creating a wall of fame within the museum, where everyone who has helped and contributed will have their name engraved on the wall of fame which will become part of the fabric of the building for generations to come

Thirdly we have created a rewards package for everyone that helps, ranging from certificates, to limited edition books to limited edition rugby balls. So you have something to show for your efforts.

We want to share this journey with you, so make sure you let us have your email address. We can then send you pictures and videos to let show you the great discoveries and developments at the museum as we progress. We value your support and hope that someday you can visit and see what you have helped to achieve.


We have created a basic website for the time being to offer further information at which will be updated as we go on the journey.

We thank you for your support and look forward to hopefully meeting you in the future.

 If you know of anyone who could help on a larger donation or corporate basis we would be more than happy to hear from them.

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