A history of Rugby in 50 Objects

A History of Rugby in 50 Objects charts a course through centuries of the borough's past, from a 200 million-year-old tree fossil to the town stocks, used to publicly punish residents until the 1870s.

The exhibition includes a 'boneshaker' bicycle donated by the founder of the Hospital of St Cross and Rugby's first library, Richard Henry Wood, and the birch Dr Arnold disciplined pupils with at Rugby School while he was headmaster in the 19th century.

Rugby's industrial heritage features, with a model of the 'Rugby bedstead' - the town's famous railway signal gantry built in 1895 - and an aerial photograph of the British Thomson-Houston (BTH) works from 1947 both on display.

A History of Rugby in 50 Objects also includes plaques from BTH which honoured the pioneering work of Sir Frank Whittle and Dennis Gabor, and a cold cathode clock from Rugby Radio Station which transmitted the time signal used by the speaking clock and BBC radio's famous 'pips'.

The exhibition travels back to Roman times with treasures from the Tripontium settlement - including a roof tile with the name of the Corieltauvi tribe etched on it - and also includes a Cold War curio in the form of a radiation meter from Rugby Borough Council's nuclear bunker.

The majority of items featured in a History of Rugby in 50 Objects have been donated by residents.  However, there are still gaps in the collection so if you have an item that is part of Rugby's history that you would like to donate, please get in touch.

Featured below are a few of the objects on display. 

Alongside 'A History of Rugby in 50 Objects' are regular temporary displays showcasing particular aspects of the Local History Collection. 

Cold Cathode Clock from
Rugby Radio Station 
Co-operative Women's Guild Rugby Region Banner 1885
Key for the alms houses in Church Street. Demolished in the early 1960s
Shield presented to the Borough of Rugby  to commemorate the adoption of the HMS Keppel by the Borough
Birch used by Dr Arnold, headmaster at
Rugby School
Plaque commemorating Dennis Gabor for the invention of holography in 1947
Viking ring found in Kings Newton
Barbed and tanged flint arrowhead, early Bronze Age found during excavations of the new crematorium