Leeds & West Yorkshire

New National Rugby League Museum to be in Bradford

Lesley Vainikolo in action for Bradford Bulls in 2005 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bradford has a long association with rugby league

The new National Rugby League Museum is to be based in Bradford.

The museum is scheduled to open in the West Yorkshire city in 2020 to mark the 125th anniversary of the code's formation in nearby Huddersfield.

The museum will display the sport's historical artefacts within Bradford City Hall.

It is to be funded from a range of sources, including private benefactors and government grants, charity Rugby League Cares said.

Bradford was selected by a working group chaired by the director of the National Football Museum, Dr Kevin Moore.

Bradford club Manningham were founder members of the Northern Union (now Rugby League) in 1895 and won the game's first championship before later switching to football and becoming Bradford City.

Image caption More than 100,000 spectators watched the 1954 cup final replay at Odsal

The city also holds the UK record for the biggest crowd for a rugby match when an official 102,575 spectators watched the Challenge Cup final replay, Halifax v Warrington at Odsal Stadium in 1954.

Bradford Bulls have also made six summer-era Grand Final appearances, winning three times.

Image caption The museum is to be housed at Bradford City Hall

Chris Rostron, of Rugby League Cares, said it had seen the city's "positivity for this very prestigious project".

Brigid Power, heritage manager for the charity, said: "We have some fantastic objects and archive material in our collection, which we are continually adding to.

"Our most recent donation has come from one of Bradford's finest rugby league legends, Ernest Ward, whose son Trevor has very kindly donated some of his father's medals, boots and photographs."

Ward played more than 390 matches for Bradford Northern in the 1940s and '50s.

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