World Rugby Museum
The World Rugby Museum contains the world’s largest collection of rugby football and pre-code football artefacts. The objects come from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries and are derived from all rugby-playing nations.
The growing collection includes 41,000 recorded objects. Over 1000 textile objects reflect developments in players’ kit and rugby equipment and give us a flavour for the early days of the game and its history as an amateur sport. Our archive material of over 16,500 pieces dates from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day and spans the history of rugby from its amateur origins through to materials which reflect the game in its present professionalised form. Our collection is the world’s leading resource of research material for charting the history of the game. The archive is complemented by over 11,300 photographs and the Museum also holds a database of every English rugby international, recording both personal and playing data.
Pre-eminent amongst the Museum’s trophy collection is the exquisite Calcutta Cup. This is rugby’s oldest and most beautiful international trophy. The Calcutta Cup is complemented by many other fine examples, including the Siam Cup and the replica Webb-Ellis trophy awarded to England following their 2003 Rugby World Cup victory.
Arguably the most popular item in the Museum’s collection is a ball from the 2003 Rugby World Cup final. Unremarkable in itself, the ball provides a thrilling and unique link to one of the most famous and iconic moment in modern British sport. The remainder of the ball collection forms a representative history of the development of this indispensable piece of kit.
Our fine and decorative art collections include oils and watercolours, charcoal, pastel and ink drawings, bronze sculptures and plaster casts as well as a number of gifts and trophies given to the RFU over the organisation’s long history. Our collection of over 650 posters and prints span from the nineteenth century to the present day and include some classic London Transport and wartime recruitment posters.
We have a large range of ephemera, including tickets, dinner menus and programmes which help to give an insight into the rising popularity of the sport and gives context to our object collections. In addition to charting the history of the game, our collection includes documents of relevance to the local community here in Twickenham, showing the development of the stadium through architect’s plans and legal documents.
The World Rugby Museum and Twickenham Stadium Tours operate Tuesday – Sunday throughout the year (subject to availability, particularly around match and event days) and the library is available by appointment Tuesday – Friday.