An Introduction

Harlequins has a rich heritage in rugby in this country and abroad.  For almost a century and a half the club has contributed generously to the development of the game both on and off the pitch. On the pitch Harlequins’ players have performed with distinction not just for England but for other nations; in the process bringing honour on themselves and the club.

The club has a reputation for producing and attracting players who have been innovators, for example, Ronnie Poulton-Palmer, Adrian Stoop and William Wavell Wakefield in the first quarter of the 20th Century.  Between them they contributed to the club being associated with an attractive style of rugby.

Their legacy continues to the present - over a century later the current generation of players are taking that style to new levels. Off the pitch the club has also made a notable contribution to the governance of the game through the Rugby Football Union. Harlequins has already provided eleven Presidents of the RFU, a tradition that is set to continue with 2003 Rugby World Cup winner and former Harlequins prop forward Jason Leonard  taking over as President of the Union later this year.

The club’s influence extends beyond this country via a network of affiliate clubs around the world.  They include Harlequins Pretoria, Kenya Harlequins, Harlequins Melbourne and Dallas Harlequins among others. These clubs have added to Harlequins heritage not just through name association but also through their adoption of the club’s style of play.

Two books* have already been published about the history of the club and a third is planned to coincide with the 150th anniversary in 2016.  A special book+ was published to celebrate winning the Aviva Premiership in 2012.  While these publications tell the story of the club’s history within their respective timeframes, they do not do justice to the wealth of historical material the club has in its possession. Work is in hand to make the heritage of Harlequins more accessible to all those interested in the club through a range of outlets and platforms including public displays and digital formats.  

Work is expected to be complete in time for the celebration of the club’s 150th anniversary in 2016.  Please monitor this website for further announcements about the heritage programme.

* WAKELAM, H B T, “Harlequins Story”, Phoenix House, London, 1954
* WARNER, Philip, “The Harlequins -125 years of Rugby Football”, Breedon Books, Derby, 1991.
+ LENNON & SHEPPARD, “Harlequins: Aviva Premiership Champions 2011-12”, O Publishing, 2012