The first-ever National Rugby League Museum will be based at the George Hotel in Huddersfield.
Rugby League Cares have announced a new partnership with Kirklees Council to create the museum in the George Hotel, the venue where the sport that would become rugby league was born: on August 29, 1895.
The decision to establish the facility at the sport’s spiritual home was made following a recommendation by an independent selection panel, which had considered interest from locations across the North of England.
RL Cares chairman Tim Adams said: “I am sure everyone in the sport will welcome this decision to establish the National RL Museum at the George Hotel.
“The museum will tell the wonderful story of a sport that remains as important to the communities in which it is played as it was in 1895.
“We are looking forward to working with the members and officers of Kirklees Council to develop a museum that will be the envy of sports around the world in a location that means so much to so many people.
“I would like to thank all the other centres who expressed an interest in hosting the museum: Kirklees Council were not alone in putting forward a compelling case to the selection panel, who deliberated long and hard before handing down their recommendation.
“The interest shown is a testimony to the prestige that comes with being the home of the National RL Museum, and ultimately acknowledges the importance of the George Hotel to rugby league.
“Our thanks also go to all the members of the independent selection panel who helped us reach this important decision: their wealth of knowledge of the museums landscape and the sport was invaluable.”
The George Hotel has been closed since 2013 and has been purchased by Kirklees Council as part of an ambitious plan to make the museum the focal point of a re-development of Huddersfield town centre.
Kirklees Council leader, councillor Shabir Pandor, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news and we’re really excited to get started and bring rugby league home.
“We asked our residents what they wanted to see in Huddersfield town centre and one of the most popular answers people gave was to get the George Hotel back open. We listened and made the decision to buy the building so we can make sure it not only reopens but stays open.
“It is so much more than a building to local people and to rugby league fans across the world.
“This is where it all began for rugby league and there is no better place to create a museum that celebrates and remembers the history of the game.”
Work to renovate the interior and exterior of the George Hotel is scheduled to begin in the next few weeks, with plans for the galleries, exhibitions and interactive displays that will feature in the National RL Museum being drawn up in the coming months.
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