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The 1950 Lions Tour of New Zealand

Information on the project funded in 2004 through the Full Disclosure programme

The Museum of Rugby has acquired the Osborne Archive, the most significant and comprehensive archive of a rugby tour to have ever been uncovered. It is the complete archive of the 1950 British Isles Tour (Lions) to New Zealand, collected by Tour Manager Mr L.B. (Ginger) Osborne. Osborne was a compulsive collector who kept everything right down to his team selection which was scribbled on headed notepaper.

The archive is significant not only in size and comprehensiveness, with over 1000 individual pieces, but also in variety: 8mm Sunny film, diary entries, personal correspondence, photos, sound recording, pin badges and standard rugby archival material.

The British Isles Tours are significant for not only British sporting history but sporting history globally, as they tell us as much about the Southern Hemisphere to which they travelled, as much as the British Teams themselves.

The project, to document the archive, coincided with the British Isles Tour of 2005, again to NZ. This will be of great interest to scholars, students, historians and rugby enthusiasts.

Lead Institution: Museum of Rugby, Twickenham

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