Bradford to house National Rugby League Museum

Rugby League Cares has confirmed that the new National Rugby League Museum will be based in Bradford, a city which possesses rich roots when it comes to our game.

The museum is scheduled to open in August 2020, which will mark Rugby League’s 125-year anniversary.

It it set to be located within Bradford City Hall opposite City Park, a public space which is home to the UK’s largest urban water feature.

A working group chaired by Dr Kevin Moore, the director of the celebrated National Football Museum, led a consultative process to decide upon the venue.

That process involved consultations with local authorities, the Rugby Football League and other key stakeholders.

Chris Rostron, the head of Rugby League Cares, believes that Bradford will make an excellent home for the museum.

“It gives me great pleasure to confirm that Bradford will be the home of the new National Rugby League Museum from 2020,” he said.

“Through all our discussions with the city council and its officers we have been overwhelmed by the positivity for this very prestigious project. 

“The city’s commitment to working with Rugby League Cares to help us realise our ambitions to make the museum a world-class attraction shone through from Day One.

“Bradford’s enthusiasm to host the National Rugby League Museum is matched by the energy within a city which is rapidly becoming one of the UK’s top destination venues: our location in City Hall could not be more central or accessible.”

Bradford holds the record for the biggest crowd for a rugby match in the UK of 102,575 for the 1954 Challenge Cup final replay, Halifax v Warrington at Odsal Stadium.

Bradford Council leader, Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “It’s fantastic that Bradford has been chosen as the preferred partner by Rugby League Cares to host the National Rugby League Museum in Bradford.

“We are delighted by this news and are committed to working with all relevant parties to ensure that the museum is a success. It is a wonderful opportunity for Bradford and we are very proud City Hall has been chosen as the location for the museum.

“Our city and district has a proud rugby league tradition and this museum will inspire the next generation of rugby league fans and players.”

The museum will be funded via a range of sources, which include private benefactors, as well as grants from central government.

The funding application process is already apparently at an advanced stage.

Heritage Manager for Rugby League Cares, Brigid Power, believes fans will be excited by the exhibits on show at the museum.

“We have some fantastic objects and archive material in our collection, which we are continually adding to,” she said.

“Our most recent donation has come from one of Bradford’s finest legends – Ernest Ward, whose son Trevor has very kindly donated some of his father’s medals, boots and photographs.

“Ernest played over 390 matches for Bradford Northern in the 1940s and ‘50s, so the donation is a great addition to the collection, in light of the location of the Museum.”

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