STAFF at Newarke Houses Museum are putting the finishing touches to an exhibition that will open to the public as Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off at Twickenham.

The mini exhibition – which opens on 18 September – will explore the history of rugby in Leicester through the stories of local people and with the help of more than 30 artefacts and some fascinating rugby ephemera.

Audio clips of grassroots players and loyal fans will help bring 140 years of rugby history to life, and items such as Martin Johnson’s England shirt, a photograph of the first rugby team in Leicester, and a collection of 1930s rugby-inspired cigarette cards will reflect the city’s enduring passion for the sport.

Curator Philip French said: “This new exhibition will bring together a selection of fascinating objects and recordings from our oral history project.

“The photographs, the ephemera and the audio clips will combine to tell the story of 140 years of rugby in Leicester – and allow us to hear how rugby has been an integral part of the lives of so many local people.”

Assistant city mayor for culture, leisure and sport Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “As the city prepares to welcome Rugby World Cup 2015, this small exhibition provides an opportunity to look back at the early days of the sport and to hear the stories of the grassroots players and supporters who have helped make rugby the global phenomenon that it is today.”

‘Leicester Rugby, Leicester People: A Community History’ opens at Newarke Houses Museum on Friday 18 September and continues until 10 April 2016.

A sneak preview of the exhibition will be available at the Flavours of Rugby event in Leicester on Sunday (30 August).

Visitors to the Victoria Park event – organised as part of Leicester’s Festival of Rugby – will be able to have a look at a small pop-up display, promoting the ‘Leicester Rugby, Leicester People’ exhibition.

‘Leicester Rugby, Leicester People: A Community History’ is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and coordinated by Leicester City Council in conjunction with the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society.

The city council is grateful to the Leicester Tigers, The World Rugby Museum at Twickenham, Leicestershire Schools Rugby Union, and the many individuals who have loaned items or given interviews.