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Rugby, England

Rugby is a town in the county of Warwickshire in central England. It has a population of 62,100.

The town is famous for a number of reasons most notably the invention of Rugby football which is played throughout the world. Legend has it that the game was invented by William Webb Ellis (1807-1872) in 1823 at Rugby School.

The school was also the setting of the Thomas Hughes[?] semi-autobiographical masterpiece Tom Brown's Schooldays[?].

Both the scientist and astronomer Norman Lockyer (1836-1920) who discovered Helium, and the wartime poet Rupert Brooke (1887-1925) were born and lived in Rugby.

It is rumored that Rugby town centre has the highest density of pubs in England.

Rugby is also the site of a large antenna farm, most notable for broadcasting the MSF time signal.

The town's main industries include engineering, tourism, warehousing, and cement production - Rugby has one of the largest cement works in Europe. Rugby is located next to several important transport links as detailed below.


Though transport systems have changed over time, Rugby, through the fortune of geography, has long been at a critical point of England's transport infrastructure.

Although Rugby as such did not exist in Roman times, two major Roman roads were built very close to the site of modern day Rugby: the Fosse Way and Watling Street.

Just outside modern day Rugby, remains have been found of a Roman settlement called Tripontium, situated on the original Watling Street which is now known as the A5. Historians believe that the settlement was a kind of ancient service station, providing stabling and accomodation to passing Roman armies and travelers.

Rugby was first mentioned as a place in the Domesday Book in the 11th century, as a small farming settlement then called Rocheby. Rugby remained a small hamlet of little significance for centuries.

In 1567 Rugby School was founded as a Grammar School[?] for local boys by Lawrence Sherrif[?].

In the heyday of the stagecoach in the 18th century the nearby village of Dunchurch (which is now part of Rugby) was a major road junction and had many stables and Inns for travelers, situated on the main coaching road from London to Holyhead. Dunchurch was for a long time more important than Rugby.

In the 1770s, The Oxford Canal was built just to the north of Rugby.

Rugby really came into its own in the 19th century with the coming of the railways. In the 1830s The London and Birmingham Railway, which was the original part of what later became the West Coast Mainline, was built through Rugby, which at the time was still a small village with a population of around 1,000.

In the 1840s Rugby was chosen almost by chance, as the point at which the Midland Counties Railway, which linked the East Midlands, and the north east of England, would form a junction to the London and Birmingham railway.

Immediately Rugby became the busiest and most important railway junction in Britain. It became even more important when The Trent Valley Railway, which linked to the north west of England, formed a junction at Rugby. A number of other less important railways were also built into Rugby.

Rugby grew rapidly as a railway town with its population reaching 10,000 by the 1850s, with the railways employing most of the population. Due to its transport links, many manufacturing industries located in Rugby. It was also in this period when Rugby School came to prominance.

By the 1860s the railway had become extremely congested, so much so that Charles Dickens lampooned it in his short story Mugby Junction[?] (1866).

In order to relieve this congestion a new line, now called the Midland Main Line, with a more direct route to London was built, avoiding Rugby. Much traffic was diverted onto the new line and Rugby's importance as a railway junction, although still important, was much diminished.

In the 20th century the population continued to grow reaching 40,000 by the 1930s.

In the late 1930s the father of the modern jet engine Frank Whittle (1907-1996) worked in Rugby, and prototypes were built in Rugby of some of the first Turbojet engines. Some of his work was also carried out in the nearby town of Lutterworth.

In the postwar years Rugby became a centre of the national motorway network. Two of Britain's most important motorways, the M1 and M6 and also the M45, run close to the town.

At the same time several of the railway lines which radiated from Rugby were closed as part of the Beeching axe including the once hugely important Midland Counties Railway in 1961. As of 2003, only the West Coast Mainline still serves the town.

In the postwar years, Rugby gained a substantial Afro-Caribbean community, and a sizeable community from the Indian sub-continent making Rugby a multi-cultural town.

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