THEY are snapshots from back in time, but Examiner readers can help provide vital information for a project looking at Huddersfield’s rugby league heritage.
The project’s focus is now on the many amateur teams from around the district in the build-up to a massive year of rugby league celebration which starts around the time the World Cup arrives in Huddersfield this autumn.
Organisers of The Huddersfield Rugby League: A Lasting Legacy are asking for information about these three photographs of amateur rugby league clubs unearthed by project historian David Gronow, who lives in Netherton.
Project manager Brian Heywood said: “Although we are interested in all memorabilia, our focus is shifting a little more towards the amateur game. At one time almost every village and district in the area had an amateur rugby league team and we would like to record the stories of all the clubs, existing or not through the memories of people who were involved and through any items of memorabilia that they may have.”
The project is funded by a £100,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and has been timed to celebrate several anniversaries in 2014. These are:
The 150th anniversary of the Huddersfield Club, founded in 1864.
The centenary of the club’s ‘Team of all Talents’, one of only three to win all four available trophies in the same season – the Northern Union championship, Challenge Cup, Yorkshire League and Yorkshire Cup in 1914-15.
The 1913-14 record of 80 tries in a season by winger Albert Rosenfeld, a record for the sport that is unlikely to be beaten.
The centenary of Huddersfield captain Harold Wagstaff’s finest hour, leading the outnumbered, injury-ravaged British Lions to a 13-6 victory at Sydney in the Rorke’s Drift Test Match of 1914. This is reputed to be rugby league’s most famous match.
The centenary of the start of World War I.
Over the next couple of years the project will publish two sets of 50 Collectors’ Cards – the first of their kind for any sports’ club – featuring the great Huddersfield players from the last 150 years.
They will also publish a book covering the history of rugby league in the district, including many stories unearthed by the project and also the first ever book about the town of Huddersfield during World War I.
The project is also working in partnership with Discover Huddersfield to produce three trails – a World War I Trail of the town centre, a Harold Wagstaff Trail of Holmfirth and a trail of the Rugby League Heritage Centre which, it is expected, will be re-located in Huddersfield.
In October this year the project’s main exhibition will start at the Tolson Museum.
The following week, on Friday November 1, The John Smith’s Stadium hosts the Rugby League World Cup Celebration Day to coincide with the England v Ireland match at the stadium 24 hours later.
The Celebration Day was initiated by the Huddersfield project and is now backed by the World Cup Projects committee and the Rugby Football League.
It will feature heritage displays by many of the Super League and Championship clubs and speakers and panellists who will debate Rugby League World Cups past, present and future.
Several stars of the game have already committed themselves to appearing on the panels.
In the evening, attention will shift from the John Smith’s Stadium to the University of Huddersfield for the RFL’s World Cup Charity Dinner, where there will also be an opportunity to view the RFL Archive which is housed there.
Brian added: “It’s a fantastic concept – the brainchild of one the many terrific volunteers on our Steering Group – and absolutely in line with our project’s aim of celebrating the passion, pride, enthusiasm and knowledge about the sport of rugby league that has passed from generation to generation.
“We hope the event will inspire people across the game to learn more about its heritage and simultaneously raise the profile of the World Cup.”
The project’s website is www.huddersfieldrlheritage.co.uk Anyone with memories or memorabilia about rugby league in Huddersfield, amateur or professional, can contact the project via the website or by phoning 01723 583245.
Readers who can provide any more information about the three teams in the photographs should contact David Gronow on 01484 667446, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to him at 66 Bourn View Road, Netherton, Huddersfield, HD4 7JZ.