A new display to celebrate a milestone year for Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Football Club opens Saturday 13 July.
One of the oldest clubs in the country, the Grasshoppers’ story will be told through objects and photographs in a special display in the Discover Preston Gallery in the Harris.
The club was formed in 1869 at a meeting at the Bull Hotel on Church Street, Preston. It quickly became the leading club in the area, drawing crowds of up to 3,000 people to some of its games. This rapid rise did not last and a huge increase in the popularity of soccer in the 1880s saw players and spectators leave the club and in 1885 Grasshoppers was dissolved.
In 1900 the club was reborn and quickly regained strength, with twice-weekly matches at their new ground near Avenham Park. By the 1920s the club could field four teams and had added a touch of luxury to its facilities – two baths and a wooden hut!
The display takes a fascinating look at their history up to the present day.
Mike Forshaw, Historian at Preston Grasshoppers 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 years of our club’s history, so we hope people will come along and enjoy it.”
Cllr Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for culture and leisure, 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.”