This small town in Warwickshire is arguably most well known as the birthplace of the sport that bears its name.
However, did you know that’s not the only thing that the town lays claim to? Here’s five other things that Rugby town has given to the world…
- The birth of the modern Olympics – Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee openly admits that Rugby School and its famous headmaster Dr Thomas Arnold, played a big role in inspiring him to found the modern Olympics. De Coubertin was an educational reformer in France and he visited Rugby School on several occasions. It’s said that he spent one night in the chapel at the school, where he apparently had his ‘light-bulb’ moment. Perhaps not the only influence but there’s no doubt that Rugby School was the original catalyst for the modern Olympics.
- The English school novel – Tom Browns Schooldays, which it has been said is the forerunner of the Harry Potter series, was written by former Rugbeian Thomas Hughes. Although not originally written for entertainment, there are many aspects of the novel which are echoed in Harry Potter; it’s is all about good triumphing over evil and school being a place where this character’s battles take place.
- The English gentleman – There are a selection of historians who credit Rugby Schools former headmaster Dr Thomas Arnold (who headed up the school between 1828-1842) with forging a template for standards of British public life. Defining the ideas of responsibility and service, it’s said that he created a generation of people who became great leaders!
- The jet engine – A prototype for a jet engine was built by Sir Frank Whittle, a Coventry-born RAF engineer air officer, at the British Thomson-Houston (BTH) works in the town in 1937. Although, it’s said that the people of Rugby were not able to appreciate the revolutionary nature of Sir Frank’s invention – in fact, they found the loud noises caused by the testing disturbing, a fact not helped by their top secret nature.
- Rugby radio – The enormous Rugby Radio Station tuning coil was erected by the government in 1923 to enable communication to all of Britain’s colonies. When Rugby Radio came on air on 1 January 1926 it was served by the world’s most powerful telegraph transmitter. The technology was used for communicating everything from Christmas greetings to the navy to telegrams abroad.