Events 2023 Exhibition

2023 Exhibition

Event Date: Sunday 01 January 2023 @ 12:50
End Date: Saturday 09 December 2023

Visit the birthplace of the game and see The Close where rugby football first began. Through our visual and audible 2023 exhibition, you will learn about how the game has developed since William Webb Ellis first took the ball in his arms and ran with it.

You can then follow the Pathway of Fame trail around the town of Rugby and also visit the Webb Ellis Museum. From April onwards you will also be able to follow the pathway of art around the town of Rugby. (See details of young person’s art competition).

The Game in the SchoolRugby School Museum (January-December 2023)

Along the Doctor’s wall facing the home of Rugby Football is a stone commemorating “The exploits of William Webb Ellis who with a fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time took the ball in his arms and ran with it. Thus originating the distinctive feature of the Rugby Game. 1823 AD”.

The rest is history …

Using artefacts and stories from our archive, we explore the rich history of the game as it has been played for 200 years at Rugby School.

He ran with itThe Lewis Gallery (January-April 2023) Rugby Art Gallery and Museum (September-October 2023) Online from April-August and then November 2023

From a small town in the midlands to over 100 countries the game of Rugby has been spread far and wide over the last two hundred years. In this Exhibition we explore how Rugby School and the Town have influenced the game from what players wear to the rules to the shape of the ball and where it is played.

With objects, artefacts and stories from Rugby School Archives and the William Webb Ellis Museum see how the school and town have influenced the world wide phenomenon.


Schools package: our 2023 outreach schools package also includes a quiz to complete on the trail.

For all ticket enquiries, individual, groups & schools please contact:

T: 01788 556 169

If you have a smart device and headphones please bring these with you to access our audible history.


The exhibition will help raise awareness of two fantastic charities.

  • Wooden Spoon is the children’s charity of rugby.  With the help of you, the rugby family, they fund life-changing projects across the UK & Ireland that support vulnerable children and young people. The charities original wooden spoon will be on display at various times throughout the year.
  • Our own 1823 bursary fund which is in honour of Webb Ellis who was a bursary student. The bursary will be used to fund a means tested place(s) for child(ren), showing a talent for rugby football, to be educated at Rugby School.

World Rugby Museum, Twickenham will also have an exhibition dedicated to William Webb Ellis during 2023, please click here for further details.