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Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2500 scale with present-day aerial photo overlay.
This weekend, Twickenham Stadium will host the England – France Rugby Union match – sometimes known as le Crunch. This is the 84th time the 2 sides have met in the Six Nations (previously Five Nations) Championship.
Although the teams had met from 1906, the first match between the 2 nations in this Championship was played at the Parc des Princes in Paris in 1910 (France winning 11-3).
The following year, they met at Twickenham with an English victory of 37-0.
The map here shows the land prior to being bought by the RFU in 1907 with an overlay of the Stadium today. England had previously hosted their international matches at Crystal Palace, Richmond Athletic Ground or at Welford Road in Leicester.
The RFU, advised by their committee member William Williams and their treasurer William Cail that a new RFU home was needed, decided to buy the land on the east bank of the River Crane near the village of Whitton and to the north of the town of Twickenham.
Part of the land purchased was a market garden growing cabbages – the Stadium today is still affectionately known as the Cabbage Patch.
The first game played at the ground was in 1909 between local teams, Harlequins and Richmond. The first international match was played the following year between England and Wales.
The Stadium’s original capacity was 20,000 spectators, today, after much redevelopment, it can hold 82,000 making it the second largest stadium in the UK after Wembley and the fifth largest in Europe.
Apart from a brief spell as grazing land during WW1, it has remained the world’s largest stadium dedicated solely to rugby – although it has hosted numerous rock concerts and even a BBC Top Gear Car Rugby match…