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Kirklees Council to purchase the birthplace of Rugby League

The hotel was built in 1851 and closed in January 2013.

Kirklees Council’s Cabinet has agreed a deal to purchase Huddersfield’s iconic George Hotel after submitting a bid to create a National Rugby League Museum in the building - where the sport was born.

The Grade II-listed George Hotel in Huddersfield is famous for being the birthplace of rugby league in 1895. The hotel was built in 1851 and closed in January 2013.

When Kirklees Council launched its Huddersfield Blueprint vision in June 2019 it included an ambition to bring the building back into use.

The council announced in March this year that it had agreed a deal in principle to purchase the George Hotel in Huddersfield Town Centre. Cabinet has approved the deal which will see the building come into the ownership of the council – this will be completed in the coming weeks.

The council is now looking to make the building a key part of a future thriving Huddersfield Town Centre and in May 2020 submitted a bid to create a National Rugby League Museum within it. Announcements will be made by Rugby League Cares shortly.

The grade two-listed hotel, which was built in 1851, was where the meeting that founded Rugby League in 1895 was held.

Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “When we launched the Huddersfield Blueprint, we said we were committed to get the George Hotel back open.

“This is so much more than a building to people in Huddersfield and to rugby league fans. It’s a proud part of our history and we want to make sure it is also part of our exciting future.

“I can think of no better place to create a National Rugby League Museum than the building where the sport itself was born and the public support we’ve received since submitting our bid has been overwhelming.

“The future of the George Hotel is crucial to our plans for Huddersfield Town Centre. We’re serious about revitalising our town centres and we will invest the money needed to do this.

“I’m delighted that we can now complete the purchase and bring the George Hotel back to life.”

Councillor Peter McBride, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “By making this investment and buying the George Hotel we can save it from any further deterioration and make it a key part of our vision for Huddersfield Town Centre.

“The George Hotel will be part of a revitalised St George’s Square which will include a revamped train station, an improved public space and more of our heritage buildings being brought back into use.

“Our bid to create a National Rugby League Museum in the hotel has been submitted and we’re confident we have made a very strong case to bring rugby league home.”

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