Cardiff Arms Park is fortunate to have a fantastic collection of rugby memorabilia, much of which is stored in the Hubert Johnson Room.
Over the last year, every item has been catalogued and photographed by members of CF10, the Arms Park Rugby Trust. Expert opinion obtained during this process has unfortunately confirmed that the collection is currently at significant risk due to the conditions under which it is stored. These include:
- Huge daily variations in temperature, humidity and lighting
- The items being on permanent display
- The cases in which items are stored not being to conservation standard
- Materials having been pinned, stapled and badly folded
- Historic photographs being placed in exposed environmental settings.
In short, it is slowly but progressively rotting away and there is sadly little that can be done to correct these difficulties in situ. The only solution open to us therefore is to place much of the collection into safe environmental storage until we can develop a more appropriate setting at Cardiff Arms Park.
Over the next few months, much of the cloth-based collection (caps, shirts and ties) will be moved out; all at risk photographs will also be professionally copied and replaced with identical facsimiles. The collection will of course remain in our ownership and it can be retrieved at any point. It will also be valued for the first time.
One this move is complete, we will start building a replacement rotating display in the Hubert Johnson Room, but for a time this will appear relatively bare; similarly, the entrance hall and main stairwell may be without several historic photographs while the originals are being copied. We realise that members and supporters may be alarmed at these changes given what has happened recently to the rugby heritage material at Rodney Parade, and we therefore wanted to both warn and reassure you that nothing like that is happening here.
The intention of the CF10 Trust is to develop a state-of-the-art Cardiff Rugby Heritage Centre at the ground, either as part of the proposed redevelopment or as a separate project. All our historic memorabilia will then be displayed under optimum conditions and regularly accessible to both members and the public. In the interim, CF10 will also be launching an online museum of the collection in the new year, and we will advise you when this launch will take place.
Should members have any memorabilia that they would like to either loan or donate to the collection, then we would be delighted to hear from you via the CAC office.
- CF10 Trust