Our Town and Club

History of Rugby

Rugby, the home of Rugby Football, is located in the north-east of the county of Warwickshire in the heart of England, and has excellent road and rail connections via the M6 and M1 motorways and National Rail Network to London, Birmingham, Coventry, Northampton and other major cities. The National Exhibition Centre of the UK is located on the East side of Birmingham next to Birmingham International airport and railway station. Other local attractions such as Stratford-on-Avon, Warwick, and the outstanding Cotswold countryside can be explored from the town.

At the time of the Great Doomsday survey , the town was known as Rocheberie - 'roche' meaning stone and 'berie' important place. At its foundation it had 10 inhabitants. Later, it was known as Rokeby, and it wasn't until the 18th century that its current name was adopted. Today it is a modern and vibrant place, specialising in distribution, but with reminders of its past as a market town and centre of heavy industry. 

Rugby has become world famous for the game which takes its name from the town, a game inspired by Rugby Schoolboy William Webb Ellis's act of picking up the ball and running with it. The game is played by a number of countries and every four years the Rugby World Cup is competed for.  Visitors can walk the Pathway of Fame and celebrate the history of rugby football and commemorate some of its most notable players and events.


Rugby School, with its impressive Victorian buildings, was the inspiration for the novel Tom Brown's School Days written by Thomas Hughes MP in 1856. Hughes - a former pupil of the school - who studied under the famous Dr Arnold - went on to found the town of  Rugby in the state of Tennessee, USA. Another famous citizen of the town, and pupil of the school, was the poet Rupert Brooke whose most famous line is "If I should die, think only this of me, that there's some corner of a foreign field that is forever England".

In 1936 Sir Frank Whittle began working at British Thompson-Houston in Rugby and a year later had built the world's first jet engine.

The Rugby Rotary Club was founded in 1922 and on July 22nd that year was affiliated to Rotary International in Britain & Ireland and became its 85th member and the 1317th club in the world (See Club history) We are one of the few Clubs to meet fortnightly: on 1st, 3rd and 5th Friday of each month, for lunch, and we currently have a membership of 59.

Since the Club's inception it has been heavily involved in community work in Rugby and can claim a number of firsts such as our "Sports Day for the Disabled" - begun in 1985 and now an annual event. Such projects help us to adhere to the Rotary motto of "Service Above Self"

Although the Club is active in various other projects both local and international we also believe in enjoying ourselves and have a varied programme of social events and fund raising activities throughout the year in which most members participate.