Loughborough Rugby Football Club – a history
27 December 2020
The Nineteenth Century
Loughborough Rugby Football Club (L.R.F.C.) was founded in about 1882 by C.D. Woolley, A. Thompson and William Webster. They played in a field in Moor Lane at the back of The Elms, the mansion and park of Mr. Henry Warner, hosiery manufacturer.
Mr. Woolley was a mainstay of the club until he met with a serious accident during a match and was forced to give up the game. They then had difficulty in fielding a full team of 15 players for away matches and the club closed.
It was revived in 1903 with Arthur Eddowes as its President and Mr. Ashe as Secretary and Captain. It was forced to close once more, to be reformed in its present form in 1929.
1929 and Onwards
Robin Wood and a group of enthusiasts re-formed Loughborough R.F.C. in 1929 with Mr. Wood as Secretary.
The club acquired a ground on Forest Road, thanks to the good offices of Mr. T.P. Towle, hosiery and knitwear manufacturer, who became the club’s first President, with Fred Mason as the first Chairman. The early enthusiasm of these players was sustained and they gained a reputation for playing good rugger.
Their ground moved to Park Road in Shelthorpe when the Forest Road site was scheduled for building construction. For one season they played at Browns Lane – the Mecca of soccer in Loughborough – but soon returned to Park Road where they stayed until the outbreak of WWII.
WWII (1939 to 1945) were lean years for the club, but the threads were picked up again in 1946. Unfortunately, the Park Road ground was not available but they managed to secure an agreement to play on Loughborough Cricket Club ground during the winter. With D.P.V. Laing as the first Chairman after WWII, the future plan was always to obtain their own ground and clubhouse.
At long last in 1948 when Loughborough Grammar School adopted the handling code[i], the town’s team had its nursery. The school, under the guidance of masters such as Harry Bowen, Bill Redden, Hayden Thomas and W.E. Williams, made rapid strides and was soon a force to be reckoned with in schools’ rugger. The school produced a steady stream of players who joined the town club when they left school.
Notable post-WWII names remembered are A.S. North (who became President of Leicestershire R.F.U. in later years), Cliff Hardisty, Owen Brown, J.A. Williams, Nigel Garton, Bill Colston, Roger Holt, Alan Toone, Don Wix, Stan Acons and -more recently – John Charles, Les Moseley, Terry Brewin and Alan Waters – all stalwart servants of the club.
Loughborough Rugby Club achieved their aim to have their own ground and clubhouse when they moved to their first home in Derby Road – complete with a wooden clubhouse which was officially opened in 1962. In 1982 a purpose brick-built clubhouse on the Derby Road playing fields was opened which became home, and still is, to the town teams. Due to the enthusiasm of the College and Junior College teams, the Grammar School teams, the Brush team and the L.R.F.C. town teams, over the years rugby in Loughborough has prospered and become a popular and integral part of Loughborough’s sports scene.
Deakin, W. Arthur, The Story of Loughborough 1888-1914, Echo Press Ltd.
[i] The ‘code’ – or format – for Rugby Union. The team sports of rugby union and rugby league have a shared origin and bear many similarities.
Article by Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers.