Written in stone – interpreted worldwide – brought back to Cambridge’



Neville Gabie and Alan Ward have been commissioned to create a new public artwork to celebrate the Cambridge Rules, which were a code of football rules first drawn up at Cambridge University. The aim of this commission is to signify the importance of Parker’s Piece as the birthplace of football. The piece which has been in its planning stages since 2013- (the 150th anniversary of the football association rules) aims to be significant nationally and internationally.

“In 1848 a group of students from Cambridge University wrote a set of eleven rules which everyone could agree upon. Nailed to the trees surrounding Parker’s Piece, this was the first point that football as we know it, had any formalized laws. It was the catalyst, where, from this very specific patch of English landscape in the heart of Cambridge, the game spread to encompass every corner of the world.”

Neville Gabie


Four internationally-recognised artists were invited to develop initial concepts for the artwork. Artists Neville Gabie together with Alan Ward, Kenny Hunter, Nayan Kulkarni and Mark Titchner submitted proposals. The concepts included a granite slab inscribed with the rules in different languages, a mirror-like design and bench, a life-size bronze of a female referee and a word sculpture. Neville Gabie and Alan Ward’s concept was selected by Cambridge City Council after receiving more public support during the consultations at the end of 2014.


The work will be funded entirely using developer contributions of up to £115,000 as part of section 106 and the artwork will be placed in the eastern corner of Parker’s Piece, at the main crossing of Parkside, East Road, Gonville Place and Mill Road.

Neville’s concept is to celebrate the way that the simple rules have been taken from a patch of grass in Cambridge and have reached every corner of the world.  His project aims to celebrate the community across the world and the way that football influences our culture. A block of stone will be inscribed with the rules in different languages. The artists aim to involve local communities in the fabrication of this initial large block of granite, which will then be cut into several pieces . The main piece will stay on Parker’s Piece, the other eight will be sent as ‘gifts’ to worldwide locations which have been significant to the history of football.


On an interactive website, Neville will be inviting people from across the globe to share their own experiences of where they play football. This material will then be used as the basis for a multimedia outdoor exhibition on Parker’s Piece.

More information about Neville’s concept can be found here


The artwork is set to be installed by the end of 2016