Leeds & West Yorkshire

Donation plan bid to save rugby birthplace George Hotel

The George Hotel
Image caption The landmark George Hotel is next to Huddersfield's railway station

A campaign to buy a Grade II-listed hotel in West Yorkshire regarded as the birthplace of rugby league has been started by a Huddersfield MP.

Labour's Barry Sheerman said he hoped fans of the sport worldwide would donate money towards a scheme to protect the 60-bed George Hotel in Huddersfield.

The hotel closed two weeks ago and has been up for sale for several months.

The founding meeting of the rugby league was held at the hotel in 1895.

Mr Sheerman said about £1.4m was needed to secure the hotel.

"We're trying to make something happen because this is too valuable to let go," he said.

"We don't want it to be converted into student flats or something inappropriate like that."

'Real fan base'

Mr Sheerman said all those who offered donations of any amount would receive a share in the hotel.

"Who wouldn't want a £50 share in the George Hotel? [It's] not just an ordinary hotel, but the home of rugby league.

"I know there's a real fan base there. It may not be £50, it can be any sum that will provide an investment, a share in this wonderful historic building."

The Victorian hotel was built about 1851, next to the town's railway station.

On 29 August, 1895, 21 northern rugby clubs held a meeting and voted to secede from the Rugby Football Union to set up the Northern Union - which was renamed the Rugby Football League in 1922.

Niel Wood, the Rugby Football League's communications director, said the hotel held "a special place in the history of rugby league".

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