Rugby-mad collector's 114-year challenge

A COLLECTOR is appealing to rugby fans to see if anyone owns a piece of memorabilia older than his 114-year-old match day programme.

Rugby-nut Stuart Quinn – who owns an original copy of a Hartlepool Rovers programme from 1886 – is passionate about the sport's history.

The 48-year-old is keen to know more about rugby from the end of the 19th Century and start of the 20th Century and he has appealed for information.

Stuart, who has been collecting memorabilia for more than 30 years, has dozens of rugby-related postcards, programmes, photographs and medals prior to 1920.

The married dad-of-two picked up the programme at a collector's fair as Hartlepool Rovers were playing his hometown of Hull.

He said: "I am after local knowledge of early rugby history in Hartlepool, say up until the First World War.

"There seems to be very little documented and I wondered if the Mail readers could help.

"My dad was a big fan of collecting football memorabilia.

"But I was more interested in rugby and I am looking for more information about rugby in the Hartlepool and east Durham area."

The Hartlepool Rovers programme for the game against Hull dates back to December 4, 1886, and it is one of Stuart's prized possessions.

Stuart added: "I have a Hartlepool Rovers rugby union programme from the 1886-87 season and I wondered if this is the earliest known Hartlepool programme in existence and does anybody have any memorabilia relating to this period?

"Hartlepool was a hotbed for rugby in the late 19th and early 20th Century, as players from Yorkshire, Lancashire and Wales, moved there because of the availability of work at the docks and the building of the railways to the Durham collieries", added Stuart, an account manager who lives in Hull.

Stuart also owns a picture of Frank Boylen, showcasing his club caps and medals.

Irish-born Boylen was signed by Hull FC Rugby League Club from West Hartlepool RU Club in 1908 and he also played for Hartlepool Rovers Rugby Club.

Anyone that can help Stuart is asked to call him on (01482) 643247 or email