Despite the folk-lore, rugby has long and tangled roots. The Ancient Greeks and Romans are known to have played many ball games, some of which involved the use of the feet. The Roman game harpastum is believed to have been adapted from a Greek team game known as "ἐπίσκυρος" (Episkyros) or "φαινίνδα" (phaininda), which is mentioned by a Greek playwright, Antiphanes (388–311 BC) and later referred to by the Christian theologian Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.215 AD). These games appear to have resembled rugby football. The Roman politician Cicero (106–42 BC) describes the case of a man who was killed whilst having a shave when a ball was kicked into a barber's shop. Roman ball games already knew the air-filled ball, the follis. The origin of rugby football is reputed to be an incident during a game of English school football at Rugby School in 1823, when William Webb Ellis is said to have picked up the ball and run with it. Although the evidence for the story is doubtful, it was immortalised at the school with a plaque unveiled in 1895. Despite the doubtful evidence, the Rugby World Cup trophy is named after Webb Ellis. Rugby football stems from the form of game played at Rugby School, which former pupils then introduced to their university. Old Rugbeian Albert Pell, a student at Cambridge, is credited with having formed the first "football" team. During this early period different schools used different rules, with former pupils from Rugby and Eton attempting to carry their preferred rules through to their universities. A significant event in the early development of rugby football was the production of the first written laws of the game at Rugby School in 1845, which was followed by the 'Cambridge Rules' drawn up in 1848. Other important events include the Blackheath Club's decision to leave the Football Association in 1863 and the formation of the Rugby Football Union in 1871. The code was originally known as "rugby football"; it was not until after the schism in England in 1895, which resulted in the separate code of rugby league, that the sport took on the name "rugby union" to differentiate it from the league game. Despite the sport's full name of rugby union, it is known simply as rugby throughout most of the world.
The World Rugby Museum has several fluid exhibition spaces in which it rotates objects from its collection and curates a regular programme of special exhibitions. Past exhibitions have included: HQ at 100, One Century Hundreds of Moments. More Than A Tour, the 1905 All-Blacks. Gone But Not Forgotten, Rugby Players at War. England 2010, the Women's Rugby World Cup. From War to Tour, 1906 and the First Springboks. Permanent exhibitions include: The Twickenham Wall of Fame, The Birth of Rugby and The World of Rugby. The World Rugby Museum has the most extensive collection of rugby football memorabilia in the world and includes over 10,000 recorded objects, 7,000 pieces of archival material and 7-8,000 photographs. It includes the RFU collection, the Harry Langton Collection and the RFU Rugby Archive. Star items include: the Calcutta Cup, the 2003 Rugby World Cup, an 1871 England Jersey and Cap and an 1888 Anglo-Australian Tour Jersey and Cap. The World Rugby Museum is a museum of international rugby history and includes objects from all over the globe. The World Rugby Museum and the Twickenham Stadium Tour route are both fully accessible to wheelchairs. There are toilets accessible to wheelchair users. Guide dogs and service dogs are welcome at the World Rugby Museum and Twickenham Stadium Tours.
Location : Twickenham Stadium, 200 Whitton Rd, Twickenham, Greater London TW2 7BA.
Transport: Twickenham (National Rail). London Buses routes 281, 681 and 481 (the closest) stop nearby.
Opening Times: Tuesday to Saturday/Bank Holidays 10:00 to 17:00.
Sundays 11:00 to 17:00.
Closed for matches
Tickets : Adults £8.00 Concessions £7.00 Children (5-15) £6.00.
With Tour : Adults £20.00 Concessions £15.00 Children (5-15) £12.00.
Tel: 020 8892 8877