The History of Sport Played in China's Treaty Ports

The display at the World Rugby Museum launched  September 2014

The display at the World Rugby Museum launched  September 2014

 A new display at the World Rugby Museum was opened on Friday 26 September 2014. In a short opening ceremony Deborah Mason from the World Rugby Museum thanked Simon Drakeford for his help in organising the display. She noted that a larger exhibition is planned for 2016 which will showcase the history of rugby in the Far East, including China, Hong Kong and Japan.

Simon Drakeford thanked the World Rugby Museum for putting on display, the Shanghai Rugby Football Club (SRFC) for the loan of their 1930s playing shirt and the Hong Kong Football Club for the forthcoming loan of the 1940s Morse Cup.On behalf of the SRFC he thanked John Rigg for donating his father’s playing shirt to the SRFC and Barrie Martin for his generous donation of his father’s collection of Shanghai rugby memorabilia to the Museum.

John and Barrie were born on the same day in Shanghai in 1941 and their respective father’s both played rugby for Shanghai in the 1930s. The Rigg and Martin families were interned in the same Civil Assembly Centres during the Second World War. 

Simon noted that the SRFC has a long association with the Rugby Football Union (RFU). Two SRFC players played rugby for England, three for Scotland and one for the British and Irish Lions. Furthermore, three men born in Shanghai went on to play international rugby, one each for Wales, Scotland and. Of those international matches, two were actually played at Twickenham. Kenneth Marshall played for Scotland on 17 March 1934 and Richard Jones played for Wales on 19 January 1929. 

Many of the SRFC players were familiar with Twickenham being eligible to apply for international tickets by virtue of the SRFC being affiliated to the RFU from 1932 until 1954.When the SRFC was finally closed in 1950 its surplus funds of more than £400 (about £25,000 in today’s money) were donated to the RFU and used to refurbish the Royal Retiring Room also known as the President’ room. 

​ To end the ceremony, Simon Drakeford presented Charles ‘Chip’ Johnson with a signed copy of the book in recognition of his pivotal role starting Simon off on his four years of research and writing which resulted in his book and this display.

​For more information about the exhibition please email simon@treatyportsport.com. 


Opening of the Shanghai Rugby Football Club history exhibition at the World Rugby Museum in Twickenham

The display boards at the World Rugby Museum launched  September 2014

From left to right, Charles Johnson who set Simon off on his research about the history of rugby in Shanghai, Simon Drakeford author of the book It's a Rough Game but Good Sport, and Barrie Martin and John Rigg whose father's played rugby for Shanghai in the 1930s.