Monday, 25 November 2013

Rugby League and Hull

Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th November were two days of celebrations of what Rugby league means to the city and people of Hull. A display of material from the archives included a scorecard from the first match between Hull FC and Hull KR (in 1899), match day programmes and items relating to the construction of the grounds.  The Hull History Centre sent out an appeal to Rugby fans to come in and share their memories with other fans and also help to bridge gaps in the centre's archives by depositing items of their written memorabilia into the archives for posterity.

Left to Right: Professor Tony Collins with legends Colin Hutton, Johnny Whitely
and Allan Burwell and Victoria Dawson
The centre hosted a question time style discussion with local rugby league legends, Colin Hutton, Johnny Whiteley and Allan Burwell - chaired by rugby league historian Professor Tony Collins.
Fans found out more about items of memorabilia they brought in and shared memories of infamous matches such as the 1980 Challenge Cup Final.

During one poignant remark, Colin Hutton said "I congratulate myself for making the decision many years ago to move from where I was born, in Wigan, to Hull.  I had the warmest welcome and I've stayed here ever since".

The day was rounded up with our VIP rugby league guests enjoying a tour of the Hull History Centre and they were greatly impressed by the wealth and significance of its historical records.

The second event was a rare screening of Mitchell and Kenyon Early Rugby League silent films at the Ferens Art Gallery.  Once again, Professor Tony Collins compared the event and gave an insightful commentary on the social, cultural and sporting heritage of the city in Edwardian times. The films were accompanied by an improvised musical score performed by silent film pianist, Cyrus Gabrysch.

The film presentation and also the event on Saturday, were both extremely well received by all those who attended and the weekend of celebration events may well form the beginning of a trend by local residents who wish to participate in creating a more comprehensive record of Rugby League material at the Hull History Centre for present and future citizens of Hull to learn from and enjoy - if you have items you wish to donate - please contact us. The centre is also looking to work closely with the national Rugby League archive based at the University of Huddersfield. 

The events were the Centre's contribution to the national Explore Your Archive campaign. 

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