So, I have been spending time in Rugby to see Sally. It’s actually a really nice town and I like it a lot. The town has three markets a week, plenty of independent shops in the town centre and plenty of drinking establishments. It is well connected and easy to get to. There are a number of out of town shopping places and I hope these don’t detract from the town centre income. Many of the villages around Rugby are nice, pretty and look expensive.
There also happens to be a school where a game started. It is called The Rugby School and the game is Rugby Football. Now, as you might imagine, the town itself is very proud of this heritage. The game is named after the town. The game was invented in the town. The town doesn’t have a stadium for the purposes of playing the said sport and so it makes the most of its history.
I have two issues with Rugby and its branding along with rugby football:
The evidence shows that William Webb Ellis was more than likely NOT the boy who picked up the ball and ran with it. He never mentioned this himself in the rest of his life. He worked as a vicar at St Clement Danes church in the Strand and then in the South of France where he died and is buried. The ONLY source is someone writing about WWE running with the ball about 40 years after the actual event. It is most likely that WWE wasn’t the boy. It is also most likely that rugby developed over time and Rugby School only tried to impose its own version when there were differences with the game around the country, just when it would have been handy to have history on its side.
By the way, it was perfectly ok to hold the football and run with it as long as you ran towards your own goal. What the boy did was run towards the opposing goal, this was illegal at the time.
As a good friend said to me recently.
You shouldn’t let facts get in the way of a good story.
Here’s the statue to William Webb Ellis outside the front of The Rugby School. Please understand he didn’t look like this. He was modelled on the sculpture’s own son.
More Important Things:
HOLOGRAMS were invented in Rugby. Denis Gabor worked for British Thomson-Houston in Rugby where he invented the hologram. The hologram FFS. In Rugby. There are holograms on nearly every bank card and bank note around the world. In terms of affecting most people and importance to the world holograms easily beats the game of rugby football. Jesus, HOLOGRAMS!
The Jet Engine was partially developed at the British Thomson-Houston labs in Rugby. Whittle used the manufacturing firm to build his first jet and then the company was involved with the development of the engine, mostly at the Lutterworth site. While many places can claim the jet engine Rugby is allowed some kudos. This, complex, beautiful piece of engineering has easily affected more people than the game of rugby football.
Rugby Cement is based somewhere locally. Oh, they are based in Rugby. They are now owned by Cemex but once their red trucks were seen all over the country. They still produce plenty of fine cement and other products. The cement works serve as a guide over the countryside to find your way back to Rugby. The industrial site looks awesome. It is arguable that Rugby Cement has affected more people than the game of rugby football.
RUGBY – home to holograms, the jet engine, cement and a game for men played with odd shaped balls.