As the country gears up for the Rugby World Cup in the Autumn an exhibition celebrating Preston’s rugby heritage has opened.Advertisement
The Harris Museum and Art Gallery is marking 150 years of the Preston Grasshoppers.
The club was formed in 1869 at a meeting in the Bull Hotel in Church Street.
Back then it drew crowds of 3,000 people and rugby enjoyed a rapid rise in popularity.
In 1885 the Hoppers were dissolved but were then reformed in 1900.
They played then at a new ground near Avenham Park and had four teams.
The Hoppers have strong links with grammar schools, as well as with Lancashire Police.
By 2000 the club ranked in the top 40 in England.
The club’s current home at Lightfoot Lane has seen national games hosted, as well as the fixtures for the five men’s teams and two women’s teams.
Historian at Preston Grasshoppers Mike Forshaw said: “We have such a rich history at the club and are very proud to be sharing this with the people of Preston and further afield in Lancashire.
“Many in the region aren’t aware of how the club was set up, the
fantastic players the club has been involved with and how we are nurturing future stars at our club.
“Our display will feature a collection of memorabilia and photos spanning the 150 year of our club’s history, so we hope people will come along and enjoy it.”
Cabinet member for culture and leisure at Preston City Council councillor Peter Kelly said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to find out more about Preston Grasshoppers rugby football club who are celebrating 150 years. The club is well known and supported by many people in the city and this display will tell its unique story and that of rugby in Preston.
“As a rugby fan I congratulate Grasshoppers on this anniversary and its great rugby union story in Preston, but I’m also looking forward to the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 as Preston has been chosen as a host training camp.”
Read more: See what’s on in Preston
It’s free to visit the Hoppers exhibition and it’s on now.
Read more: Preston to host Rugby League World Cup 2021 training base