Thursday, November 1, 2018

When New Cathkin was 2nd Hampden...

From the QPHistory blog: Queen’s Park’s new ground, also named Hampden Park, was to be opened on Saturday 18 October 1884. On the previous day, the North British Daily Mail gave some details of what it described as Queen’s Park’s “handsome new ground”

The ground was fully six acres in extent and a short distance from the Govanhill Car Terminus. It was also in the immediate vicinity of the proposed Govanhill Station of the Cathcart District Railway.The railway contractors had been responsible for levelling the pitch, which was a turfed two acres, practically flat and with just sufficient fall to allow natural drainage. The running track was exactly a quarter mile and was 15 feet wide.

The bicycle track would not be completed until the following spring. On the south side of the pitch, on rising ground, was a grand stand that was 80 yards long and had seating for 900.The area in front of the stand was terraced. On the north side of the ground was another grand stand, 100 yards long and seating 1,200.

There was a new brick pavilion in the south-west corner of the ground. As well as changing facilities, the pavilion had club and committee rooms. The Evening Times said that the entrances to the ground were at the north-west corner.

The new Hampden Park opened on Saturday 18 October 1884 as scheduled,with a match between Queen’s Park & Dumbarton. As the oldest member of the Queen’s Park side,Charles Campbell had the honour of taking the kick-off before a crowd of up to 6,000.Queen’s dominated but it finished 0-0.

One newspaper commented that the pitch was almost dead level, showing a remarkable contrast to the old Hampden Park. QPFC Team: G Gillespie; J McDougall and J G Wallace; C Campbell and J G MacDonald; R M Christie, D S Allan, W Harrower, W W Watt, W Anderson and N McWhannell.

Another bit of info from John Litster"s THIRD LANARK : "A new pavilion was built on the South side of the pitch (1883) and alongside it was erected the stand from 1st Hampden. In Nov 1887 a roof was erected over the South stand" Soooo, this is indeed the original stand from the first Hampden Park!

From A HISTORY OF QPFC 1867-1917 by Richard Robinson, we have this...On the 12/01/1886 Scottish Athletic Journal stated " A picture gallery has been added to the many attractions at Hampden Park. Quite a number of works in oil have been presented to Queens Park FC by the merchant friend of one of it's most influential members"

"it is confidently expected that the collection will receieve some valuable additions from the private galleries of the members. The exhibition will be open to the public soon" (1886)

The photo above shows the brick Pavilion in 1887 with the players from Sheffield and Glasgow at the Inter-City match at Hampden 2."1889, the pavilion at second Hampden Park was raised a storey, a gymnasium added, and a competent instructor installed."

The idea of a gymnasium for the members seems to have originated with Mr. James Lawrence, who was president of the Queen’s Park for three seasons. At the annual general meeting in May, 1889, he drew attention to the want of variety in the system of training, running being really the only form of exercise members could avail themselves of. The chairman, Mr. Stewart Lawrie, said that the erection of a small gymnasium had been thought of, and, as a substantial balance was in bank, the idea would probably take definite shape very shortly. It did take shape when the pavilion was enlarged in 1889, and a spacious gymnasium was built at the back, with Mr. Benson, Glasgow University Gymnasium, as instructor.

There were regular QPFC Sports Days: "In the late ‘eighties and early ‘nineties there was a great influx to the club of athletic and •cycling members, who found the conveniences of the Queen’s Park track met a much-felt want, and these took full advantage of its amenities.The club at first was reluctant to take such men into full membership, as its first and last business was football. Permits were issued for training on the track, with full use of the pavilion and trainer to non-members

It was a great satisfaction to the club to find its efforts in this direction so fully appreciated. The track was constantly being improved, widened, and the banking brought up to the latest speed requirements.Interestingly though, looking at the original Hampden 1 Pavilion below, it seems that the

roof was removed from here and shifted across Cathcart Road to Hampden 2 in 1884, when the world's first brick football pavilion was erected at the new ground. The second storey was built in 1889 with the profits from the large crowds Queens Park were attracting. According to Graeme Brown at the Hampden Bowling Club the roof was moved 5 times and taken to pieces each time!

Queens Park played their home games at Titwood Park, home of Clydesdale Cricket Club whilst waiting for their new ground to be completed in the 1883/84 season. The new 2nd Hampden was on ground leased from Messrs Dixon & Co Ltd. The pitch at the new ground was levelled by the Railway contractor and the grandstands on both sides of the pitch were erected.

The new brick pavilion was built at a cost of £95 and the old wooden pavilion placed at it's rear. In 1889 as we have seen previously, the pavilion was extended with a second floor added, spending £550 and taking the unusual step of covering the South stand. And in 1888 the first ever 'World Cup' was played here on the 19th of May, as Renton defeated English Champions West Bromwich Albion 4-1!

This world famous match is portrayed above in this sketch, courtesy of Robert Bradley & Douglas Gorman. The striking thing for me about the sketch is how imposing and impressive 2nd Hampden is sketched with the large QPFC flag above the players pavilion. This tradition would continue with Third Lanark when they moved into the ground in 1903 and renamed the stadium 'New Cathkin Park.'

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Restoration - Week 32

A cold snap but cracked on with the East Terrace this week and cleared lots more buckets of spoil from this section. Ground frozen hard so unable to work on the running track which has deteriorated again recently, but got another series of terrace steps completely cleared, roots removed and bushes

cut away to clear more of a path through this jungle! Ignoring the weeds for now until we can get a decent amount of weedkiller and letting the leaves carpet the other terraces for now before we sweep and bag them later in November when the trees are finally bare.

Again it has been close work with wire brush and scraper, followed by repacking the earth below before resurfacing with red blaes and nice to see so much of the original stonework coming back to life under 50 years of growth and neglect.

But the photo above demonstrates just how much we still have to do to clear this terrace and how thick the trees and weeds have grown through this area over recent years. But the old ground is now enjoying it's 135th year of existence and we are only 10 full months into it's restoration and already the place feels very different.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Restoration - Week 31

Squeezed in another 10 hours of work this last two weeks due to work commitments and again attacked the EAST terracing once more! The weeds of course have grown back and the leaves now carpet the previously restored sections, but the ground looks suitable autumnal and we will start

clearing these up again next month. For now we are still concentrating on digging out the roots and undergrowth from the old Queens Park End and made progress this week. Cleared and levelled another 2 sections of the terrace and lined with red blaes.

However the original stonework underneath was deeply entrenched in moss and this took hours just to wire brush and clean off, but again am really happy with the final results. Although we are still
missing one long kerbstone here, this can be replaced once we buy the concrete and can begin to

refill the missing stepping. Most important for us is to realign the terrace steps that remain and remove the muck, ash and weeds permanently in order to prepare this section for the concrete. In the meantime however the red ash looks good and this area is now visibly improved from pitch level.

Really satisfied with our progress this year, despite the incremental nature of the work, but this is a 7 year project and we are still only beginning. This East Terrace has been a lot harder than anticipated due to the neglect and vandalism over the years but it is coming back to life and will be returned to full usage in the next year. Thanks for all your support, messages, visits and offers of help as they have inspired me to keep on going!

Cathkin Park - Movie Star!

For the second time this year Cathkin has been home to the Scottish film industry, acting as Unit Base for another production this month. Feature Film BEATS was also based at the park in 2017 and the

old ground has provided the backdrop for dozens of television shows and news items over the decades, including Purple TV's excellent documentary on Third Lanark for BBC Alba in 2016. we shot our entry for the 2012 48 Hour Film Festival 'Cameron Stone' here, even interrupting the game at half-time to shoot scenes!

Perhaps the most famous role the ground has played has been as a filming location for Peter Mullan's NEDS, which had a memorable and hilarious gym class scene set in Cathkin Park. The old stadium in unique in look and atmosphere in Britain and this is just another aspect worth celebrating.

Inspired by it's Hollywood connections, we have also begun shooting documentary footage of our restoration work and charts our progress since January in cleaning up the remaining terracing and the whole ground in general.

So we hope other film companies will continue to use Cathkin in years to come and help continue to build an interest and promotion of the ground. As we have said, there is no place quite like it...

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Restoration - Week 30

Managed to make a start on the next area of the EAST Terrace which has almost disappeared under 50 years of growth! The worst part of the ground thus far and the roots have undermined the remaining stepping, but already dug them out this week and revealed more of the concrete below.

Spent hours this week clearing away storm damage with lots of branches down and the old woodpile is certainly building up! 

We reckon this part of the terracing will take the rest of 2018 to dig out, clear and polish up the stonework, before we can fix up the pitch wall and paint it and then move on to the final unrestored section of the ground.

Looking forward to getting tore into this last 3rd of the front terracing and getting it back to looking like a football ground once again. 

But again, slowly but surely the Old Lady Of Scottish Football is returning to life and delighted with how this end of the ground is coming together again. It is a painfully slow process but I think the

results speak for themselves. Cleared up another 2 bags of rubbish and the whole ground has a much better and more cared-for feel to it of late and been great chatting to more tourists this week who had gone out of their way to find Cathkin Park.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Restoration - Week 29

Managed to fit in another 6 hours restoration work this week and almost completed this first 1/3rd section of the old EAST Terrace. A lot of root removal and weeding required which hampered things but delighted with the eventual result!

Another two sections of terracing cleaned and in-filled with red ash and another 20 buckets of spoil removed. Lots of branches and rubbish also cleared from this section this week and slowly this part of the ground is clearing and becoming more accessible.

Hopefully we will get this entire terracing completed by year end as it should become easier once the winter sets in and the trees are out of flowering. For now however we battle on through the undergrowth!

We welcomed historian Dr Fiona Skillen to the park this week where she was being interviewed for French television by famed director Stan Neumann and the photo below is courtesy of her Twitter feed. Great catching up and she thoroughly approved of our work thus far.

We were honoured this week to be asked to contribute to the Football Memories Scotland Project at the JJFA Pavilion and a fascinating and very moving experience it was too. Simon took along mementoes and his Cathkin photo archive which jogged many memories and a slew of brilliant

stories from the assembled fans and ex-players present. The venue added so much to the atmosphere of this event and again this is yet another Community-led project which has found it's new home at the most important football arena in Scotland. Delighted to hear tales of the Pie Stall, South Enclosure and a fascinating insight to the layout of the original Thirds Pavilion and of some of the

football greats who graced the best surface in Scotland at one time. So a busy old week at Cathkin Park and more of the past history & structure brought back to life. Onwards!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Restoration - Week 28

Another solid week's work done at the old ground and making progress in the East End Terrace. A great feeling reaching the edges of the terracing and digging down to uncover more decent stonework and the original ash infill. 50 years overgrowth removed and will clear the rest of this area this month

and soon have a full 1/3 section of the East Terracing restored.The wet weather has made it easier to shift another 100 buckets of muck from the terracing and running track, with another couple of feet now levelled and compacted again.

Delighted with the results of the work this week and battled through the elements to remove more moss, weeds and rubbish from these steps and filled with more red blaes. Thanks also to whoever left me an extra shovel hidden in the terracing! Much appreciated!

Also removed lots of the winter cut branches and added tonnes of earth to the dump site in the old car park, which we will re-use somewhere in the ground in the future as we are making this as 'green' a project as we possibly can and are recycling everything we find, even the WW2 spoil.

But as you can see from this week's photos, we are really transforming this part of Cathkin Park every single week and racked up hundreds of hours of graft in 2018. Noticed also that the 3rd LRV mural was in a bad state of neglect and started clearing this area too.

It had become badly overgrown and starting to disappear so I cut back the grass, removed the moss and cleared the much out from between the metal. This is an important visual reminder of the old club and actually is based on a tile mural which used to exist inside the Pavilion and put up by

the Council at the request of Bob Laird and as such also needs cleaned and restored to it's former glory. Thanks also to Jim Simonette for lining out the new cricket pitch area behind the car park where we plan on installing nets in time for next season, summer 2019.

So, another good week of restoration work at the old ground. Much to do but another little improvement all round despite the regrowth of the bloody weeds!

When New Cathkin was 2nd Hampden...

From the QPHistory blog: Queen’s Park’s new ground, also named Hampden Park, was to be opened on Saturday 18 October 1884. On the previous...