Saturday, July 21, 2018

Restoration - Week 23

Weather up and down this week but still got a fair amount of clearing done of the EAST terracing and 50 buckets of muck, moss, weeds, ash and roots removed and more branches cut down and taken away, as well as 4 more 1/3 sections of the terrace steps cleaned and back-filled with stone and

red blaes and cleared another large section of this area of large tree roots this week. The roots are deep and snake all the way under many of the steps and took a big effort to cut them out fully. But they need to go as they have undermined the remaining kerbstones which I have managed to refill and flatten back out in places this week.

But as soon as one part is finished more bloody weeds spring up and have again had to spend hours pulling out these quick-growing plants! But as you can see from these photos the ground is improving every day and nice to chat to the Ayr United, Rangers and Dumbarton fans who stopped by this

week to photograph the ground and have a look around. I am working on a little booklet at the moment which will tell the story of the ground from 1884-1967 and hopefully these will be available to buy later in the year. Lots more research this week on our Twitter page and thanks to all of those

who have contributed photos and documents this month. It really helps build up an accurate picture of the other sports held at Cathkin/2nd Hampden over the years, including cycling, athletics, boxing, cricket, rubgy, The Tug Of War, Golf and of course, the footie!(photo below c/o Bert Bell website)

This ground was a famous Glasgow sporting destination and sportsmen loved performing here in front of large crowds in an intimate and 'cauldron-like' atmosphere, the noise boosted by the natural bowl into which Third Lanark cut the new ground in 1903.

Also this week we were delighted to be asked along to another press shoot for the Benny Lynch Statue Appeal at The People's Palace along with Benny's grand-daughter & Sammy Wilson's grandson as well as former Coronation Street favourite Connor McIntyre (see below) with

our very own Simon Weir sporting the natty Benny Fund T-Shirt, which you can buy and help to fund the statue appeal here: We are currently also researching the other famous fighters who boxed at Cathkin over the years, including the infamous

Freddie Mills (above) who is the subject of a new documentary on August 1st on BBC4. He fought an exhibition bout here in 1943 and his story is a remarkable one indeed, so give it a watch! For
daily updates on our work restoring the old ground and for fascinating historical snippets please follow our Twitter page on @CathkinPark and our Facebook page here:

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Restoration - Week 22

As the heatwave continues we grafted hard at the park again this week, clearing three more full terraces of heavy growth and large deep roots to reveal more of the 1947 East Terracing still in saveable condition. Some serious weeding also required again this week on the restored areas

and we are making a marked difference here now. Had lots of interesting chats with visitors and ground-hoppers this week and am delighted with how much interest there is in the old ground and very thankful for all the supportive messages this month. It really helps when this task seems

insurmountable! As the photo above demonstrates we are again down to the WW2 rubble and ash underneath the weeds and bushes but have yet to discover anything of note. Will bring down the metal detector next month to check through the heaps of rubbish, as requested by one of our

Twitter followers. We have removed 120 buckets of muck from this area alone in the last week and it has been bloody hard work in the hot sun but great exercise! And every hour we spend at Cathkin is saving another wee section for posterity, so it will all eventually be worth it. For now we just need

to keep on going and get this part of the ground back into use and the remaining stonework cleared of moss, re-aligned and filled with whatever stone and red ash we can find to reconstruct the missing concreted terrace step sections and will be starting a 'GoFundMe' page this month to help with the

costs of replacing the terracing and repairing the 6 breaks there are in the old pitch wall, which we still aim to repaint this summer, which will really bring the place back to life. The JJFA have been holding free football coaching for local kids and the park has really felt alive and thriving again

this month, photo above c/o JJFA on Twitter. The Council have been back again helping scrape the latest growth of weeds from the West Terracing and the ground is looking good as the pitch is improving with no football on it and the grass allowed to grow longer. The running track has been

utilised a lot more this close season and I have cleared another 12 feet of the East End of the track, but it's a big job and am only clearing a small section every week as the terraces have priority. I
am trying to cut the treack back down a few inches to the original level in order for runners and
players to have a safe and solid surface to train on. At the moment the track is still in an awful

condition so please be careful if you are using it! The pitch damage has been repaired and there has been far less antisocial behaviour of late so that's a big plus this summer! Quite proud of CPL's
work at Cathkin Park this week and by the end of the year we should have the place looking 100%

better than it did in january when we started restoring the terracing. Good chatting to Stephen Cameron this week and thanks to him for the photo below of our rather exhausted Exec Producer Simon Weir hard at work in the East Terrace! But the hard work is really paying off now and

the East End of Cathkin will look fantastic once it is finished. However we have a lot of hours of hard work ahead before we can move on to the final section of terracing in the South West Corner which
is looking hellish at the moment and completely overgrown and unsafe to walk on. The photo

below shows how much better this section will look once we get it cleared and re-aligned and all the remaining kerb stones wire brushed and restored. Onwards!!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Restoration - week 21

Again another week of superb weather in Glasgow enabled us to clear much more of the dirt, moss and undergrowth from the East Terracing. Spent almost as much time removing the weeds which have already grown up through the replacement red blaes! The larger tree roots are also taking a lot

longer to cut up but slowly getting there! Hot, dusty work this week though but spurred on by some really supportive messages on Twitter this week and met some great people down at the Park who are right behind what we are trying to achieve here. As the task ahead sometimes looks insurmountable it is really encouraging to hear that the local community are right behind us.

So pressed on with cleaning the kerbstones, digging out tree roots and clearing another 4 sections of this section of the old terracing. These were then back-filled with red blaes as a temporary solution to the masses of destroyed concrete missing between the kerbstones.

Looks great, even if I say so myself! But as you can see from the next picture below we are still miles away from completing this area and plans to have it all done by the end of July have to be shelved for now. Really slow going this week as there were some really tough deep roots to dig out and remove

before the terraces could be cleared, the earth flattened out before the red ash added, once each kerbstone had been brushed clean of moss. But as the photographs show we are making progress and every day a little bit more is saved. I believe that once this East End of Cathkin is revamped then the entire stadium will really come back to life and provide another safe area for visitors and supporters at matches to stand in. This has been a real no-go area for the last 4 years and it has given me much

satisfaction restoring it a little at a time. Am also making inroads into levelling off the running track as seen above, which will clear the pitch wall again ready for restoration and painting. The Community Service team have done a great job of removing the latest weeds from the West Terrace as well this week and the Council have managed to stay on top of emptying the bins and clearing away rubbish from drinkers this week.

Also this week Cathkin Park Limited were invited to the official launch of The Benny Lynch Exhibition at The People's Palace and honoured to be a part of it. We are supporting the #Statue4Benny campaign and have suggested Cathkin Park as a possible site for erecting the

statue as Benny was undefeated in all of his 5 fights at the old ground in the 1930s. MD Simon Weir is pictured above with writer Davie Carswell and World Lightweight Champion Jim Watt MBE at the launch party this week.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Restoration - Week 20

So, here we are now 5 months into our painstaking restoration of 2nd Hampden Park and another week of nice weather and daily work clearing 50 years of neglect! Arrived there to find more mindless vandalism presumably from school kids over the weekend! The drainage tube put in by GCC have been torn up and set alight, using school jotters to ignite the plastic. Not too much

actual damage done but frustrating and unnecessary. One of the things we will definitely put in place on completion is security and have a local firm already lined up to take care of Cathkin Park as part of their slate of projects, which can't come soon enough to be honest. Cleared up another 3 bags of

beer and cider cans and just getting on with it now! No point in complaining, just clean the place up but does add extra hours on to the restoration work that I could do without! Lots of early morning graft this week in between more trips to England for work but received lots of complements and support from the local community and on our @CathkinPark Twitter page, which is very much 

appreciated and really does spur us on to continuing this work. And we are slowly improving more and more of the East Terrace this week as these pics demonstrate (above and below). Really happy with the way these kerbing stones have come up from the wire work and hot,dusty work but well

worth the effort this week. Managed to clear another three sections of the East Terrace but still a mountain of work ahead to turn around this part of the ground before moving on to the next section!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Restoration - Week 19

In between trips up and down to London I still managed to get another 10 hours graft done this week on the Queens Park End of the ground. Lots of heavy duty spadework this week to clear along 5 more full terrace steps in this section and then wire brushed another 2 x 1/3 terraces and filled in with red

blaes. Already having to weed this section I have just finished and such a struggle to stay on top of this during this surprisingly beautiful summer we are having! Not complaining though as it is indeed a very pleasant park to be working away in the sunshine. As you can see from these photos, the

difference is incredible and am still on-track to get most of this terracing section cleared and cleaned by the end of July, weather & work - permitting that is! Also made more inroads into revamping the running track in the East End of Cathkin, hard graft and hellish tree roots here having ruined what was once a decent track. Removed lots of growth, roots and the uneven surface in 8ft x 2ft sections

but as you can see, still a long long way to go before the track is cleared, levelled and the pitch wall repaired and repainted behind it. This is a very much unloved part of the old ground and with another 6 weeks work we reckon it will be once again safe for visitors and park users once again to enjoy.

And having a decent running track will really improve the ground as a facility and I for one can't wait to get charging round the track again! A good week's work & more tangible results...Onwards !

Friday, June 1, 2018

Restoration - Week 18

Again another lovely week of weather in Glasgow and took full advantage, working 2/3 hours every day this week to make serious inroads into the East Terracing/Queens Park End. Dividing this main section into 4 x 15 segments we managed to clear out lots of large tree roots and cleared lots of steps of the thick moss, flowers and weeks. Dirty and difficult work physically this week but very happy

with the eventual result. Averaging 2 x 1/3 terrace steps every day as well as cleaning more of the surrounding pitch wall in readiness for painting next month and as you can see from these latest pics we are making definite, if slow progress! As you can see, the pitch wall has been broken in several

places and we will first repair these parts before any paint is applied but as expected this is now beginning to cost and we are looking at the best ways of raising immediate funds to carry on with the work. But for now we can crack on with the stone cleaning with the equipment we already have, although we are going through wire brushes at an alarming rate!! Can't deny this week has been

tough, tough going and much blood, sweat and the occasional tear (caused by stone chips in the eye!) but the results speak for themselves I reckon. And with this spell of lovely weather it has been quite therapeutic just grafting down at the park and every day we are saving another few feet of history.

Four sections of the remaining 5 original terraces are looking so much better than when we began this work in late January and huge thanks to the Community Service boys for their continued help with the moss scraping and leave collecting from the Third Lanark Terrace/South Enclosure (pictured)

Also made some progress on the running track on this East End of the ground, removing the top layers of moss and gravel to reveal the original black ash surface underneath. This will reduce the track down 6 inches but will be much easier to flatten out and put back into proper use again.

As a runner myself I have injured my ankles several times over the tears on this pitted, uneven and badly maintained track and as the ground is being used more and more of late I am determined to fix this up section by section until it is properly operational again. Chatting to a few ex-Celtic players

this week they recalled training on this very track on endless running sessions as youth players and it is such a wasted resource at the moment. But as the photo above shows, this is another big old job and will be a slow process!

But very pleased with the work done this week and delighted with how well the old concrete terracing has come up with a bit of proper stone cleaning and this will look quite impressive by the end of the summer, before we can finally move on to the SE Corner terrace which is also in a very

sorry state at the moment and in danger of being lost to Nature in coming years, so still a mountain to climb before we can rest and be confident that all of our hard work has actually saved these old steps.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Restoration - Week 17

Cathkin was a real mess when I returned this week, with booze bottles and cans littering the terraces and took 4 more bags to clean up the rubbish. If only drinkers were a bit more respectful of the ground but what can you do? There are only two trackside bins which are always full and simply

not enough to cope when there is a crowd down at the park. The summer is always a nightmare anyway for antisocial behaviour and if the Council won't pick up the litter then we bloody well will! Just holds us back on the stone restoration work however and can do without it. But Cathkin has

been a public park for 50 years and has always attracted vandals and drinkers and it will take a long time and a lot of work to transform the ground into something people will be proud of once again and hopefully clear up after themselves. On top of that Nature has returned to try and claim back our

previously cleared terracing and weeds have sprouted everywhere! As a local gardener said to me this week "One year of seeds, 7 years of weeds" so it is a never-ending task to maintain this place! So much easier to clear the place during the winter! But made good progress this week with clearing the

East pitch wall and made a start on restoring the running track as well. We aim to repair the wall and again repaint each section as we go along later this summer. As stated previously we are concentrating on this East Terracing for the rest of the year and every day another little section is revealed from the moss and weeds and preserved for the future. Despite the vandalism over the

years there is still enough of the original terracing to restore and only two pieces actually need recast and the rest cleaned and lifted back into position. We are replacing the missing concrete on the steps with more red blaes from the track in the short term which at least marks out the terracing clearly and looks 100% better than it did a month ago! Really pleased with how this section is beginning to 

shape up. We completed 15 x 1/3 sections of the East End Terrace this week and will move on to the next section next week, hopefully clearing and restoring half of this full terrace by the end of July. But as you can see from these photos the place has really come back to life and some semblance of how this part of Old Hampden used to look in the past? Originally these steps would have been filled with black ash with wooden stepping but the red blaes does really highlight this section as well as

giving park users a safe and comfortable footing once again. We are still cutting out huge tree roots here and so the full section is still not safe to use but what a huge difference in how it was just a few short weeks ago. But it is painfully slow work and hard on the old body but am prouder of this section of our restoration than any of the other (easier) parts of the old ground. And good to see that the

Council lads have nearly cleared the Third Lanark Terrace of moss and this part of the old stadium is looking really good again and far more accessible for locals and fans alike. Slowly, very slowly, but surely, Cathkin Park is emerging from the past yet again and we are determined to continue until we

once again have a ground worth shouting about. It simply has too much of Scotland's sporting history seeped into every corner of the ground to be abandoned and left to rot away. It may be a beautiful ruin but it still needs lots of preservation work just to keep what is still there. It is Scotland's finest sporting amphitheatre, a reminder of our glorious past and a testament to the legends who once

performed here. One day we hope more people will feel the same as we do and Glasgow City Council realize just what a wonderful asset Cathkin Park could be to the Southside of Glasgow. Until that day however we shall plough on with our daily restoration, clearing up the rubbish and posting updates!

Restoration - Week 23

Weather up and down this week but still got a fair amount of clearing done of the EAST terracing and 50 buckets of muck, moss, weeds, ash an...