George Hotel must be museum venue, says RL Cares

The RL Cares charity says it’s crucial the new National Rugby League Museum is at Huddersfield’s George Hotel, where the sport was founded in 1895.

There have been suggestions that Kirklees Council, the key partners with RL Cares in the project, are pushing proposals to house the museum at a redeveloped Huddersfield Library, on the other side of the town centre.

When an independent panel announced in June 2020 that Huddersfield had beaten bids by Bradford, Leeds and Wigan to host the museum with hoped-for National Lottery funding, it was envisaged it would be at the George.

The grade two listed Victorian building, which is adjacent to the town’s railway station and has been closed since 2013, has been purchased by Kirklees as part of a £250 million town-centre regeneration scheme.

But sources have suggested the council are concerned that basing such a large project there could put off potential hotel operators.

Councillor Peter McBride said Kirklees believed, “the rugby museum could have a home in the town centre”.

He added: “We are working with Rugby League Cares to establish a way forward that best delivers our and their aspirations.”

But RL Cares have dismissed claims they are considering a new location and expressed “surprise and disappointment” at the suggestion.

In a statement, they insisted: “Any proposals to house the museum in Kirklees anywhere other than the George Hotel are both misguided and uninformed.

“The importance of the George Hotel to the project was recognised by the independent panel of five experts who assessed Kirklees Council’s submission detailing how and where the museum would be based.

“Since Kirklees was awarded the tender, RL Cares and its partners have invested considerable resources and time to realise this fantastic project.

“RL Cares, Kirklees Council, the University of Huddersfield and the Rugby Football League have all worked closely to deliver the National Rugby League Museum at the George Hotel and applications to secure the required funding are at an advanced stage.

“RL Cares remain hopeful that Kirklees Council will honour its commitment to work with the charity and other partners, including the University of Huddersfield and the Rugby Football League, to deliver a National Rugby League Museum within the George Hotel that will be the pride of Huddersfield and the envy of the watching world.”

A petition demanding the museum is housed at the George Hotel has been created on the website

It says: “Kirklees Council has revoked on a commitment to include a Rugby League Museum in the revamped George Hotel in the centre of Huddersfield.

“The George Hotel is the birthplace of Rugby League and is a place of pilgrimage for Rugby League fans from around the world.

“Including a Rugby League museum in the hotel will be a huge attraction and make it a place of pilgrimage for Rugby League fans. Huddersfield will be shown to value its link with this hugely popular sport and it will play a key role in revitalising the Town Centre.

“Kirklees Council must reverse this decision and include a Rugby League museum as part of the refurbishment.

“Please sign and share this petition widely.”

The petition can be found at

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