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Twickenham Stadium Tour

5th March 2023

Aldersgate Ward Club

Visit to Twickenham Rugby Stadium on Sunday 5th March 2023

 

On a cold and windy day In March, a small and select group of members and friends joined the Master for an excellent tour of Twickenham Stadium.  We spent half an hour in the Museum and marvelled at the great array of England rugby sportswear and the history of the game spanning a period of over one hundred and fifty years.

Mid-morning refreshment and lunch were served in the Marriot hotel in the grounds where we were able to mingle and chat with friends before meeting Brian, our tour guide. On entry to the Stadium we espied a wall of beer barrels but forgot to enquire if they were full or empty!  Once inside the Stadium we were amazed at the sheer size and scale of the area seating 82,000 people. The cleanliness of the whole area was excellent and an army of cleaners could be seen systematically wiping seats from top to bottom. Brian gave us an interesting account of the history of the Stadium which was established on ground previously devoted to allotments and described how Twickenham is the Headquarters of the Rugby Football Union ( RFU)  for England. The condition of the pitch was phenomenal and can weather all climatic conditions. The grass is underpinned by a layer of sand allowing excellent drainage alongside an array of plastic heating pipes so ice and frost are never a problem and the game plays on! At the end of each season the pitch is dug and resown.

The wrought iron VIP entry gates were very special. These were designed with the rose of England at the bottom which morphed into poppies and finally  poppy leaves at the top to commemorate the members of the England team who gave their lives in two world wars.

We visited the Members’ Room and the Room of the President and could imagine the pleasure of dining in that environment on a spectacular day in the Six Nations Cup. There were some wonderful pictures of rugby moments across the years and we were also privileged to see the first painting of womens’ rugby, yet to be revealed to the community. We sat in the VIP seats and for five minutes Past Master Ron Wood was the President who holds office for a year. Women are now on the RFU Council and of course it will not be long before the Office of President, will be held by a woman. Interestingly some women, across the world, were involved in rugby as far back as the late 19th century but often under cover!

Our excellent tour ended in the England changing room where we saw the names of the famous players of yesteryear, the massage tables and the ice baths. Brrrrr!

We chose not to purchase souvenirs in the overpriced shop and departed after a splendid visit. Thank you Master.

 

Jeff Walters

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