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Jimmy Peters Exhibition

Jimmy Peters

Photo: World Rugby Museum - Jimmy Peters Exhibition

In 1906, Plymouth and Devon rugby star Jimmy Peters made history when he became the first black player to play for England.

Peters (1879-1954) played in the stand-off position against Scotland. It was to be another 82 years before England fielded a black player again - Chris Oti in 1988.

Although he wasn't born in Devon, Peters settled in the county and had great rugby success here.

Born in Salford to a West Indian father and an English mother, he had a tough start to life. He spent his early childhood in the circus where he trained as a bare back rider.

But his circus career ended prematurely at the age of 11 when his father was killed by a lion.

Soon afterwards, he was abandoned by the circus after breaking his arm and he ended up in an orphanage in London. It was here that he learned carpentry, and discovered rugby by watching Blackheath.

(Article taken from BBC Devon)

See the exhibition panels below for further detail:


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