AEI (Rugby) RFC History
AEI (Rugby) RFC formed in 1917 as a works side for the engineering company British Thomson Houston (BTH) in Rugby.
The company bought land on Hillmorton Road and erected a clubhouse. In 1928, BTH merged with Metropolitan Vickers and formed Associated Electrical Industries (AEI). The two company’s identities were maintained until the 1960s and there were matches between BTH/AEI and Metropolitan Vickers of Manchester and Willesden.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s AEI (Rugby) RFC continued to play several works teams including Dunlop, Cadbury, Bourneville, Jaguar, Courtaulds, Standard, Morris and Lloyds Bank.
Although AEI were taken over in 1967 by GEC, the club retained its name.
After a brief and disastrous flirtation with league rugby in the early 80’s, for many seasons AEI devoted themselves solely to ‘friendly’ matches. For many years the club ran three sides, but since about 1985 they have only run one side. Although AEI did spend two seasons (1999-2001) playing (and getting soundly beaten) in the Leicestershire Merit Table. In 2001-2 AEI (Rugby) RFC were playing friendly matches in the true spirit of the game.
GEC closed the sports field in 2005 and the club temporarily moved their social base to the Jolly Abbott pub. They played at Winfield Recreation Ground until returning to the GEC Park after three year’s exile.
AEI returned to league Rugby in 2011-12 and currently field a team most weekends and participate in the RFU Warwickshire League 3. AEI (Rugby) RFC are a social rugby club who enjoy and play a competitive game of Rugby the AEI (Rugby) RFC ‘social home’ is now Hillmorton Ex-Servicemen’s Club. AEI (Rugby) RFC are always looking for new players, whatever, your skill, age, fitness, or experience you will receive a warm welcome at the AEI.
AEI (Rugby) RFC Timeline
1894: British Thomson-Houston (BTH) founded as a subsidiary of the Company GEC
1902: BTH opens a factory in Mill Road, Rugby
1913: BTH Social club forms
1917: Thomson-Houston Athletic Club and BTH Social Club merge to become the Thomson-Houston Athletic and Social Club. The Rugby team is founded.
1919: BTH buys the land on Hillmorton Road and the clubhouse is erected (later becomes BTH Recreation Club)
1928: BTH merges with Metropolitan Vickers and forms AEI (Associated Electrical Industries)
1960: AEI stops using the names BTH and Metropolitan Vickers
1967: GEC buys AEI outright and
1989: The company is split into GEC Alstom and Cegelec Projects
1998: The company is reunited as Alstom
2005: GEC sports field closes and the team moves to Winfield Recreation Ground
2005: The company becomes Converteam
2006: Rugby Borough Council secures control of the GEC ground
2007: Clubhouse is demolished
2008: New changing rooms open, AEI RFC returns to the Hillmorton Road ground
2011: AEI (Rugby) RFC return to League Rugby in RFU Warwickshire League 3
2012: Converteam bought out by GE
AEI (Rugby RFC) Recollections
“In the 1960s the main clubhouse room was for table tennis and there was, I believe, a small bar but this changed in the late 60s with a large cash injection and rebuild to include a lounge and Sportsman’s Bar. The AEI rugby Football Club commandeered the bar after matches for their entertainment!” Andrew Wigley (Club member).
“I recall talking to past members, the rugby pitch that we still play on was very badly drained. The top soil was removed and land drains laid in trenches and the whole pitch covered with boiler ash from the coal boilers of the Mill Road works site, all carried by horse and cart from the works. This explained the great drainage of the pitch particularly in the winter months. When the groundsman’s hut was cleared, they unearthed the collar for the horse which presumably was used for grounds maintenance too.” Andrew Wigley (Club member).