Saturday 26th October 2013 may mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Football Association at the Freemason’s Tavern in London, but it is also the opening day of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
The sport of rugby league was effectively born on 29 August 1895 when representatives of twenty-two clubs met at the George Hotel, Huddersfield and formed the Northern Rugby Football Union. The clubs, mostly from Yorkshire and Lancashire, wanted to have the option of compensating players for taking time off work to play in Saturday matches. “Broken time” payments were outlawed by the then Rugby Football Union.
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The Rugby League World Cup dates back to an inaugural tournament in France in 1954 – predating its Rugby Union counterpart by some 33 years.
The map below shows the locations of sporting museums, galleries and collections in Britain. It includes institutions involved in Our Sporting Life as well as other museums and collections mentioned in the June 2006 Sports Heritage Network Mapping Survey by Annie Hood.
Many are dedicated to a particular sport. Others are museums with a more general remit which include significant collections with a sporting connection.
There are currently 56 collections featured on this map. It’s probably no surprise that 11 of the museums – the biggest group – are dedicated to football. As one of the longest established organised sports, cricket accounts for seven establishments. Follow the link at the foot of the map to see a listing of the museums alongside a larger map.
Museums related to hunting have been included on the grounds that national hunt racing, equestrianism, and shooting sports have the pastime in their ancestries. Its also worth remembering that before Victoria ascended the throne in 1837, in Britain the word “sport” was most often associated with hunting and angling.
It’s interesting to see that sporting museums can be found the length and breadth of Britain. Let me know if you know of any I’ve missed.
PS: its a shame Google maps doesn’t offer icons for archery, motor sport, cricket, shinty, fencing, shooting, badminton, rugby or tennis!
View Britain’s sporting museums and galleries in a larger map