The Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum is a small museum that chronicles the growth of rugby from its birth on the playing fields of Rugby School into the international sport that we know today.
The museum, formerly known as the James Gilbert Rugby Football Museum, is housed in the same building where shoemaker James Gilbert first made rugby balls in 1842.
What to see at the Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum
It is a small museum that has four different themed exhibition spaces that focus on the origins of the game, the players, the ball and the game itself.
The museum includes interesting displays showing how the rugby ball has evolved from a pig’s bladder to the ball used today.
There is also a display depicting the myths surrounding how the game developed after Rugby schoolboy William Webb Ellis picked up a ball and ran with it and how a formal set of rules were drawn up in Rugby that led to the sport growing to become a popular international sport.
Exhibits at the museum include a Gilbert football that was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of London as well as an original brass hand pump invented in Rugby by Richard Lindon.
Rugby balls have been made on the premises since 1842 and it is sometimes possible to watch rugby balls being stitched by hand at the museum.
Visiting the Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum
The museum is located at the southern end of the town centre around midway between the World Rugby Hall of Fame and Rugby School, which are both only a couple of minutes walk away.
Wheelchair access is limited and disabled visitors are advised to phone ahead before visiting.
If you enjoyed your visit to the museum, you may also want to visit the World Rugby Hall of Fame and take a tour of Rugby School, both a short walk away, and you should also plan a visit to the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham Stadium in London.
It is a small museum that just looks like a shop from the street and a visit shouldn’t take longer than an hour.