From cabbage patch to world-class Rugby Stadium

The unmistakable Home of England Rugby since 1909; Twickenham Stadium has been in everyone’s minds (and hearts), especially during the Rugby World Cup last month. If you’re anything like us, you might have pondered where it all began? What stood in its place 100-odd years ago?

We’ve searched the deepest darkest corners of the internet to find the answer. So get your notebooks out and your pens at the ready – you never know when you’ll need to remember this for the next pub quiz!

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The Glorious History of Twickenham Stadium

1906 – Tired of renting stadiums, the RFU (Rugby Football Union) decided to find somewhere they could call home.  They found the perfect spot of land in the town of Twickenham but there was one teeny problem – it was being used as a cabbage patch!

1909 – The first ever game of Rugby was played at the stadium; Richmond took on the Harlequins on 2nd October.

The England Rugby Squad, 1914

1910 – The stadium now complete, 20,000 spectators crammed in to watch England beat Wales in the 5 Nations.

Ronald Poulton-Palmer - a rising star that was killed in the war.

Ronald Poulton-Palmer – a rising star, killed in the war.

1918 – Rugby, amongst most other things, was interrupted with the coming of WWI. Seven of the 1913/14 squad lost their lives in the war. The stadium, however, survived – it went back to its agricultural roots as an area to graze cattle, sheep and horses.

1920 – The two existing stands were enlarged and a third was added to the Stadium – taking capacity up to 43,000. The extra support for the English fans seemed to do the trick, as they dominated the 5 Nations all through the ‘20’s.

An early 1920's radio and horn speaker

An early 1920’s radio and horn speaker

1927 – Radio history was made. The first ever rugby match was broadcast live on BBC Radio from inside the stadium.

The view from the Obolensky Box

1930’s – Prince Alexander Obolensky or, as he was better known, The Flying Prince, scored two of the best tries Twickenham has ever seen. We love him so much we named a box after him!

1944 – WWII devastates. Twickenham stadium was hit by a V-2 rocket and many more brilliant players were killed, including The Flying Prince, Obolensky.

Chris Oti of England.

Chris Oti of England.

1988 – Fast-forward a few decades; at a time when an English try was rarely heard of, Chris Oti scored a memorable hat-trick against Ireland. It was also the match where the Benedictine School began the tradition of chanting ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’.

2004 – The stadium was re-developed to create the world-class facility we know today. With a capacity of 82,000, the redevelopment introduced a four-star Marriott Hotel, a performing arts complex and a health and leisure club.

And there you have it, the story of the Home of England Rugby. A world-class stadium and not a cabbage patch in sight.

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