Places to shop, eat, drink and do business in Rugby town centre

The James Gilbert Rugby Football Museum

Discover the history of the game

The Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum houses a large collection of rugby football memorabilia and artefacts which have been gathered over the last 160 years through the building’s direct involvement in the game of rugby football.

Since 1842 this building has been at the centre of rugby ball manufacturing. It was originally the workshop of William and then James Gilbert Rugby Manufacturing Ltd, and this tradition of rugby ball making is continued on the site by Webb Ellis Ltd today. This long-term involvement in rugby football gives the building the prestige of having the longest continuous association with the game of any site in the world.

The collection and building are privately owned, however Rugby Borough Council have been working partnership with the owner to help improve the standard of care that such a unique collection requires.

The collection is displayed in four themed areas.  These include the origins, the players, the game and the ball.

Visitors to the museum can…

• Learn about the traditional manufacture of the rugby ball from its origin as a pig's bladder to its highly technical production today

• Find out about the game's beginnings including the exploits of Rugby Schoolboy William Webb Ellis and his 'fine disregard for the rules of the game' to the establishment of the first formal set of rules at Rugby School

• Discover how rugby grew into the popular international sport we know today

Group Tours & Accessibility

To arrange a group visit, or to discuss individual requirements, call Rugby Visitor Centre on (01788) 533 217.

PLEASE NOTE: The museum is unstaffed and visits are self-led.

facility Limited access for people with disabilities – please call in advance of visit.


  • Street: 5-6 St Matthews St
  • Postcode: CV21 3BY
  • City: Rugby Warwickshire
  • Country: United Kingdom


  • Telephone: (01788) 533 217
  • E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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