The St Matthews Street museum in Rugby is famous for being the site of the first established rugby football workshop and the building with the longest continuous connection to the game in the world. The building is where William Gilbert began producing rugby footballs in 1842, beginning a tradition of rugby football manufacture on the site that is carried on by Webb Ellis Ltd. to this day.
Established in the 1980s, the museum houses a rich collection of international rugby memorabilia and tells the story of the game, the ball and the building. Its prestige attracts fans of rugby from all over the world.
The museum’s collection has been built up over the last hundred years. It is privately owned by Lawrence Webb of Webb Ellis Ltd but is currently on loan to Rugby Borough Council. The Council has been working in partnership with the collection’s owner so that staff from the Council’s Arts, Heritage and Tourism department can provide the necessary expertise to ensure that such a collection of global historic importance can continue to benefit the community and Rugby’s £153 million visitor economy.
Councillor Neil Campbell, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for Culture, said: “This project is an excellent illustration of what the Council can do in partnership with people to benefit the town and Borough. I really would encourage all residents of Rugby and fans of the game to visit the museum.”
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The launch event has been kindly supported by Martin Corry of Wooden Spoon, a children’s charity dedicated to helping underprivileged children and young people all over the UK and Ireland to live happier, richer lives. For more information about Wooden Spoon visit www.woodenspoon.com.