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Rugby League Heritage on Tour visits Rochdale as star attraction of Heritage Festival
- 18 November 2014
Rochdale Hornets are one of rugby league's historic clubs. Formed in 1871 it is one of the oldest rugby clubs in Britain and a founder member of the Northern Union. In 1924 The town hosted 41,831 spectators in the Challenge Cup Final at the Athletic Grounds and in 1929, the ground held an unprecedented fourth Great Britain versus Australia test match which saw Great Britain win the Ashes.
Internationalism has always been at the centre of the club's ethos as Hornets blazed a trail in the 1960s by bringing in great players from Fiji. In 2013, Rochdale staged one of most unforgettable matches of the Rugby League World Cup. There is no doubting that this is a region that is part of the very heartbeat of the greatest game of all.
At the centre of Rochdale Hornets' 2014 Heritage Celebration, the Rugby League Heritage on Tour exhibition opens on December 2nd and continues until 17 December 17 at Rochdale's Spotland Stadium. It tells the story of the game, its players and supporters and, most importantly, the communities that made the sport.
As well as historic memorabilia, including a player's shirt from the first-ever rugby league test match and the ball from the famous 1954 Challenge Cup final replay, the exhibition tells the story of the game's split from rugby union, the first World Cup, the banning of league in World War Two France and much, much more.
The exhibition's lead curator, Rugby League Cares' Heritage Manager Victoria Dawson, said: "This exhibition is different from other exhibitions that have gone before it because this tells not just the story of players and things that have happened on the pitch. As important as that is, rugby league is about more than just the product on the field. Rugby league's history is the history of the people and this exhibition draws together the stories from the social and cultural history of the sport and incorporates brand new research, so even the most ardent rugby league fan will learn something new. The fantastic thing about a touring exhibition is that it means more of the rugby league family get to share in the history of our beloved sport."
On Sunday 7 December, from 2:30pm until 3pm, anyone interested in local history can get details of an exciting new volunteer project taking place in Rochdale that literally aims to put Rochdale's community and rugby league history on the map! Then, from 3pm until 5:30pm there will be a Hornets Heritage Show and Tell event, giving fans the opportunity to bring in photographs and memorabilia and share their memories of rugby in the area, and get the chance to chat to the exhibition's head curator, Rugby League Cares' Heritage Manager, Victoria Dawson.
Themed 'Brothers in Arms' to recognise the centenary of the start of the First World War, the second annual Heroes of Hornets induction will take place on Thursday 11 December, and pay tribute those who have made a heroic contribution to the club throughout its history. The evening will include a showing of rare, recently discovered, 1914 Rorke's Drift Australia & New Zealand Tour footage - where Hornets' own Walter Roman toured with England and will be followed by presentations to this year's inductees.
Whether you're a rugby league fan or a lover of social history, this is an exhibition not to be missed.
For more information and tickets to the Heroes of Hornets induction please contact the club on 01706 648004.