Historic George Hotel in Huddersfield to be turned into museum to rugby league

Rugby League is set to come back to its historic birthplace in Huddersfield as part of plans to acquire and renovate the iconic George Hotel.

The George Hotel in Huddersfield

Senior figures with Kirklees Council have revealed that the authority is to submit a bid for a Rugby League Museum for the hotel, which the council intends to buy as part of the so-called Huddersfield Blueprint.

As well as being a Huddersfield town centre landmark the 1850s building is known as the birthplace of rugby league.

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Coun Peter McBride, the council’s regeneration champion, said the hotel would be part of a revitalised St George’s Square.

He added: “It’s so important that we have somewhere for the history of this great sport to be celebrated and there is no better place than the birthplace of the sport.”

The move was welcomed by Ken Davy, owner of Huddersfield Giants, who called it “absolutely tremendous news”.

On August 29, 1985, 21 clubs voted to break away from the Rugby Football Union and set up the Northern Rugby Football Union.

In 1922 that became the Rugby Football League. If the bid is successful it will be another feather in the council’s cap, coming so quickly after the announcement that the George, which has stood empty since 2013, has been saved from further dereliction.

Council leader Coun Shabir Pandor said: “We asked people what they wanted to see as part of the Huddersfield Blueprint and they told us to get this building back open. That’s exactly what we’re doing.”

The council announced in March that it had been in discussions with the owner of the George, dentist Dr Altaf Hussain, to buy the building. The purchase price has not been made public.

It is expected that the purchase will be formally ratified in the coming weeks.

Mr Davy said the prospect of welcoming a new national Rugby League Museum to Huddersfield was “absolutely tremendous news for everyone in Huddersfield regardless of their interest in sport or rugby league in particular.”

He added: “We all know the impact an attractive museum can have. There could be no more appropriate place for a rugby league museum than the George Hotel where the game was created in 1895.

“I am delighted to congratulate the council on its decision. We all now need to get behind the council and do everything we can to ensure that Huddersfield is where the national museum of rugby league ends up.”

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