News, Culture & Society

Queen’s Park step in with last-ditch rescue plan to save original Hampden

Queen’s Park make last-ditch offer to help save the original Hampden – the first purpose-built football stadium in the world – with club keen to preserve historic ground amid demolition fears

  • The original Hampden is at risk of being wiped out forever with fees piling up 
  • It is on the local community to raise £150,000 to restore the withering building
  • Home to Hampden Bowling Club, it was the first purpose-built football ground

Queen’s Park have stepped in with a last-ditch rescue plan to save their first, historic Hampden home.

Sportsmail last week reported on the dire situation facing Hampden Bowling Club, site of the world’s first purpose-built football stadium and home to Scotland’s oldest senior football club between 1873 and 1883.

Scene of a historic thrashing of England by the Scotch Professors in 1882, that 5-1 win is commemorated by a landmark mural on the rear wall of the iconic pavilion which once provided changing facilities for the likes of Andrew Watson and Charles Campbell.

Queens Park have offered to help save the original Hampden, at risk of being demolished

Padlocked and in a state of serious disrepair, the cost of repairing leaks and asbestos on the tarpaulined roof could stretch as high as £150,000. With the former committee of the charitable trust standing down at an emergency meeting on Sunday, the historic heritage site faced the prospect of a winding-up order and a sale to developers.

Following crisis talks over the weekend, however, Queen’s Park have now offered to help preserve the ground where the Spiders hosted internationals and Scottish Cup finals until the construction of the Cathcart Circle railway line forced a move to Cathkin Park in 1883.

‘Queen’s Park have been in contact and want to be part of the future of Hampden Bowling Club, the site and all of its history,’ said the club’s chief executive Leeann Dempster. ‘We’ve had an exciting and very positive start.’

A drone shot shows the stricken bowling club (bottom) and the current Hampden Park (top)

A drone shot shows the stricken bowling club (bottom) and the current Hampden Park (top)

A three-hour meeting of the bowling club ended Sunday in the election of a new president and a committee tasked with driving forward tentative plans for an all-purpose community education facility telling the story of the first and original Hampden.

The reprieve came after football figures backed Sportsmail’s call for intervention.

Ex-Celtic striker Chris Sutton said on Twitter: ‘This is a sad situation. Scotland has such a unique footballing history. The original Hampden could be gone forever very soon. Let’s hope the government, the SFA and Scottish football do something to save it.’

Fellow pundit Michael Stewart wrote: ‘History matters and something of such significance really should be saved.’