Over the past 150 years the Club has developed a rich history much of which is evident in the large amount of historic documents, trophies, caps, photographs and videos, along with other items and stories that have been accumulated since 1871.

In 2020 the Club’s Executive commissioned a project to gather and securely store these artefacts. Hugh Hutchison took on the challenge to lead this process and accepted the role of Club Archivist. It quickly became apparent that in order bring this history to life an online platform would be needed to capture and display the catalogue. The Men’s Chairman, Paul Clarke, volunteered to help define and manage the development of the system.

The design considerations exposed two significant issues that needed to be addressed.

Since about 2000 the Club’s records had mostly ceased to be physical documents and were now captured as computer documents. These computer documents were stored on a wide range of computers and much content was difficult to locate or lost.

The Club’s websites were designed in 2010 or thereabouts and had become increasingly irrelevant in modern times where a wide range of social media and other interfaces dominated the attention of our new generation of members.

This resulted in three objectives being identified.

  • To archive for posterity of 150 years of rugby history – 2021 is the Club’s 150th anniversary
  • To make the history available via a visually stunning virtual interface
  • To create a workflow and repository to ensure that all new assets are stored and accessed in the same way as the history

As a result the Club Executive approved a plan with this brief.

“To create an archive of physical and digital artefacts, and to make these accessible to Club members via an online interface. Whilst the Club has 150 years of artefacts to collect for the archive the intent is to create an active repository to ensure that all valuable artefacts are collected on an ongoing basis such that we can pass these on to the next generation when the Club celebrates its bicentennial in 2071.”

After initial generous pro bono support was provided by Neil Ashworth, James Stephenson and Simon Edwards the Club Executive engaged development partner Marrable Services to build the archive. The archive is named “Respice Prospice” being “Learn from the past and look to the future” and the first release coincided with the Club’s Sesquicentennial Dinner on 30th October 2021.

Put simply Respice Prospice enables club members to perform WWWW (Who, What, Where, When) browsing of our People, Events and Places records by capturing and indexing our rich library of documents, images, videos and stories.

Archivist Hugh and his assistant Shelly Blake have started to load some of our hoard of historic artefacts and the first of the live content was the story and photographs from the Sesquicentennial Dinner itself.

The release of www.respiceprospice.co.uk came at, perhaps, the most interesting period in the Club’s history.

The Club’s move from Berkeley Fields to Vallis Way in 1999 also precipitated a partnership with Mike Gooley and Trailfinders which changed the direction and development of the Club. The Ealing Traifinders team has transitioned from being amateur to fully professional and having won a number of honours has a major opportunity to secure promotion into the Gallagher Premiership.

As the professional team’s success grew this created a widening gap between professional rugby and community rugby. This gap is now being filled by the recently formed Ealing Trailfinders 1871 squad, which has rejuvenated amateur rugby at the Club. The goal for the squad is to reach the higher levels of the London & SE Division of the RFU supported by a competitive second team.

This places the Club, perhaps uniquely, to achieve major success with both its professional and amateur rugby teams.

This success across the whole Club has been built on the generations of past players and members who have nurtured and developed the Club to the point which enabled the huge achievements culminating in a Championship team challenging for Premiership status.

The ongoing success also depends to a great degree on the continued support of our members, and our extended rugby family, our alumni of “Ealing Legends”.

If you can help any aspects of the Club’s activities your support will be gratefully appreciated.

The initiative to create the “Respice Prospice” catalogue of historic and future artefacts, records and stories is a cornerstone of our long term goal to preserve the “One Club” ambition; keeping the professional, amateur and Ealing Legends bound together.