Twickenham Stadium Time Line
1905 & 1906
The RFU saw the benefit in owning their own ground, following sell-out matches between England and New Zealand (1905) and South Africa (1906) at Crystal Palace in London.
A ten-and-a-quarter acre market garden in Twickenham was purchased by the RFU for £5,572 12s.6d. Committee member William Williams was largely responsible for acquiring the land, against much opposition, and it became known as “Billy Williams’ Cabbage Patch.”
Two covered stands for 3000 spectators each were built on the East and West sides of the pitch, with a terrace at the South end for 7000 spectators and an open mound at the North end. A vehicle park for 200 cars or carriages was built behind the South Stand. The total cost of these was £8,812 15s 0d, raised by debentures. The pitch was raised above ground level to avoid the flooding of the River Crane while drainage was constructed and fences erected at a further cost of £1,606 9s 4d.
£20,000 was spent on roads, entrances etc for the inaugural match at Twickenham on October 2, 1909 – Harlequins v Richmond. Ronald Poulton (later Ronald Poulton-Palmer) and Adrian Stoop played as Quins won by 14 points to 10.
15 January: The first international at Twickenham, England v Wales, was played. England won by 11 points to 6 with Adrian Stoop leading the England team. Two other Harlequins also played, Ronald Poulton and JGG Birkett.
The Twickenham pitch was used as grazing for horses, cattle and sheep during World War I.
King George V unveiled a war memorial at Twickenham. A stand was built above the North Terrace, under which workshops were placed. The Varsity fixture between Oxford and Cambridge was played at Twickenham for the first time.
Harlequins won the first Middlesex seven-a-side tournament at Twickenham.
A top tier above the old East Stand was added, bringing its capacity to 12,000.
5 October: Memorial gates were unveiled at Twickenham in honour of rugby administrator Sir George Rowland Hill. A special match was played to mark the occasion: England/Wales v Scotland/Ireland.
A new West Stand was completed, with offices for RFU staff and room for 12,000 spectators at a cost of £75,025. The South Terrace was extended to accommodate 20,000 people.
During World War II, Twickenham was used as a Civil Defence Depot, the East Car Park was dug up for allotments and the West Car Park was a coal dump.
17 October: The Twickenham Jubilee celebration match – England and Wales v Ireland and Scotland (final score: 26 – 17 to England and Wales).
With cracks in the concrete and the South Terrace in need of extensive repair, it was decided it would be cheaper to build a stand. Planning permission was refused because of objections by local residents (over their right to light). During the next 10 years, their houses were purchased by the RFU and were made available to rent by employees. Planning permission was finally granted in 1978 and the building completed in 1981.
HRH the Prince of Wales opened the new RFU offices at Twickenham before the Middlesex Sevens.
Sir Hector Munro, Minister for Sport and former President of the Scottish RFU, officially opened the new South Stand at Twickenham. It contained a banqueting suite called the Rose Room' with seating for 400 people.
Demolition of the old North Stand at Twickenham.
16 February: The new North Stand, with 14,800 seats, was opened by HRH the Princess Royal. The East Stand was demolished after the Rugby World Cup.
October: The new East Stand, with 25,000 seats, was completed.
19 March: HM the Queen officially opened the new East Stand before England v Wales. During the summer, demolition of the old West Stand took place and start was made on a new one.
16 December: New West Stand at Twickenham, containing 25,000 seats, dressing rooms, a medical suite and fitness centre, was opened by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh prior to England v Western Samoa.
24 January: the new Museum of Rugby was opened to the public. It was officially opened by The Right Hon Virginia Bottomley MP JP in March.
The RFU administration staff moved into new offices opposite the Stadium.
Planning Application was submitted to build a new South Stand.
Work finally commenced on the new South Stand.
5 November: the South Stand bowl was re-opened by Tessa Jowell MP, with a seating capacity of 20,000. This brought the capacity of Twickenham to its highest ever level of 82,000.
November: The Rugby Store, which occupies over 7,000 sq ft, relocates to the newly-developed South Stand.
Twickenham Marriot hotel opens in South Stand.
Twickenham Stadium celebrates it's centenary season and 100 years of top-class rugby as England defeat Wales 30-17.
RFU staff move from their offices opposite the East Stand into the newly-developed Rugby House, based in the South Stand.