Memories of Rugby League World Cup 2013, the most successful Rugby League World Cup ever staged, will take pride of place in a new archive centre at the University of Huddersfield.

Key pieces of RLWC2013 matchday memorabilia, as well as other artefacts collated by the RFL over the course of the last five weeks will be in included as displays in the new £1.9 million archive centre which will be accessible to millions of fans across the globe.Rugby League world Cup

The University of Huddersfield is already a key centre for the study of the history of Rugby League and the new archive centre will have the space and facilities to meet demand from huge numbers of new users and offer scope for special activities. There will be more than one-and-a-half kilometres of shelving, enough to accommodate the 250,000 books and documents in the collections housed by the university’s Archives and Special Collections Service.

The vastly increased space in the new archive centre will be accompanied by extended opening hours, so that the collections are much more accessible and there will also be space and funding for exhibitions and educational activities.There will also be an extensive programme of digitising documents, so that researchers around the world will have instant on-line access to material, including an accessible legacy of RLWC2013.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded the University £1.58million for the project and the University will contribute a further £380,000. The refurbishment will be completed during 2014 and the programme of cataloguing, digitisation and activities will continue until 2017.

RFL President David Oxley visited the University of Huddersfield to see for himself the exciting plans for the RFL archive, which encompasses the history of the game since its foundation in 1895. After seeing some of the collections currently in storage, including the records of the 1957 World Cup and a digital fly-through presentation of the new archive centre he commented;

“The plans for the new archive centre at Huddersfield are tremendously exciting and will provide a first class environment for the public to access the history of Rugby League, both in person and via the digital archive from across the world. It is fitting that this new centre will be in Huddersfield, the birthplace of Rugby League in 1895, and as we approach the end of a vibrant World Cup staged in England and Wales, the fact that the history and heritage of the game will soon be part of a state of the art archive centre is great news for the whole sport. ”

Professor Tim Thornton, the University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning and the archive centre project sponsor said;

“The University is proud of its partnership with the Rugby Football League. It is a vital foundation of the successful development of the archives facility here which will offer cutting-edge access to some of the most exciting materials in the history of this global sport that was born here in Huddersfield.”

The University has also recently received a further grant of £34,948 under the 2013 round of the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives, to catalogue the archive of the Rugby Football League Board. The programme is funded by a collective of charitable trusts and foundations including the Pilgrim Trust, the Foyle Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation and the Andrew W Mellon Foundation.