22 killed and 200 injured in Glasgow football disaster

April 5, 1902
The collapse of a stand in Glasgow.
Game played whilst people lay dying.
An appalling accident, unprecedented in the annals of football occurred at Ibrox Park Ground, Glasgow, on Saturday afternoon, upon the occasion of the international match between England and Scotland. Twenty-two lives have been lost, and 200 persons more or less seriously injured.

The grounds at Ibrox Park were filled with a multitude of spectators, estimated at 80,000 persons. The play had commenced, and every eye was eagerly watching the Scottish team taking their places for a free kick near the English goal. Suddenly, and without attracting the attention of more than a tithe of the multitude, some 25 yards of the sloping terrace at the western end of the field collapsed, and at least a dozen tiers of seats were precipitated for some distance into one vast tangled heap of broken timber and ironwork, beneath which not fewer than 150 men and women were in a moment struggling for life. The terrace and the tiers of seats fell in such a way that they were hidden from the view of most of the people who were still watching the play in ignorance of the terrible calamity only a few yards away. It was not until some hundreds of people had fled from the part of the western terrace that had remained intact, and had rushed in a state of panic into the playing field, that any idea of what had happened was conveyed to the majority of holiday-makers. Even then it was assumed that there had been some small and not unusual mishap, and this optimistic view was encouraged by the authorities, who allowed the game to proceed rather than risk a more general panic by permitting the facts to be widely known. Consequently there ensued the remarkable spectacle of a great football match being played to the customary accompaniment of cheers and partisan cries of encouragement, while all the time, behind the scenes as it were, men lay dead and dying, and the air was rent with groans and shrieks of poor creatures in mortal agony.

The officials in charge of the park meanwhile set to work to rescue the victims, most of whom were tightly pinned beneath the wreckage. Messages were sent to the hospitals and infirmaries and police stations. Ambulances and doctors were requisitioned in large numbers. Most of the police on the ground were called in to help, and the stewards of the club set to work to prepare the spacious gymnasium for the reception of and first aid to the injured. Those who were able to stand walked to the gymnasium, while the more grievously injured were carried to the doctors and nurses on stretchers improvised from gates, shutters, and planks of timber. Within half an hour the work of rescue and succour was proceeding with smoothness and precision. The sufferers, after receiving first aid, were sent in cabs and ambulances to the various infirmaries, while those who were able were taken home by their friends. Several poor fellows died in the short journey from the wreckage to the gymnasium, and it quickly became apparent to the doctors that there were many who would not be likely to live many hours.

Doctors and nurses worked devotedly at the infirmaries all through the evening and night, while the clerical staff were kept busily engaged in replying to callers or telegraphic inquiries from anxious friends and relatives of those who were known to have gone to the football match and had not returned. It was not until yesterday (Sunday) morning, however, that the authorities were in a position to supply a complete list of the dead and injured. The figures thus officially communicated were truly appalling.

List of the killed.
The following is a list of the dead, all having died at the Western Infirmary except when otherwise stated: –
†, George Maxwell McAuslin, aged 31, clerk, residing at 4, Victoria Quandrangle, Cathcart, Glasgow.
†, Bruce Crawford, 20, apprentice bricklayer, 10, Clarendon Street, Partick (died on the field).
†, William Wilkie, 59, mathematical tutor, 285, St. George’s Road, Glasgow.
†, George Edward Murray, 21 ticket printer, 19, Pentland Place, Bridgeton, Glasgow.
†, Andrew Scott, 29, gunmakers’ assistant, 5, Montgomery Terrace, Glasgow.
†, Alexander Simpson, 18, clerk, Moss Side Place, Greenock Road, Paisley.
†, Michael Donnelly, mason, 122, Saltmarket Street, Glasgow.
†, Hugh Armour, 37, blacksmith, 280, Caledonia Road, Wishaw.
†, George Stewart, 16, Lennox Place, Scotstown.
†, Alexander Murray, 50, comb-maker, Forbes Street, Aberdeen (died on the field).
†, James Herdmann, Copeland Road, Govan.
†, Robert Stevenson, address unknown.
†, Walter White, address unknown.
†, James Fleming, 65, Derby Street, Port Dundas, Glasgow.
†, John MacLellan, 25, Porter, 21 ½, Duke Street, Dennistown, Glasgow.
†, Donald Steel, apprentice carpenter, 895, Govan Road, Glasgow.
†, Frank McDonald, 24, address unknown, died at the Western Infirmary.
†, James Henderson, Scotstown, at the Western Infirmary.
†, Three bodies, unidentified, lie at the Western Hospital.
†, And a man supposed to belong to Port Glasgow or the Vale of Leven, whose body lies at the Govan Police Station mortuary.

Scenes at the infirmary.
Of the injured, 137 were detained at the Western Infirmary and 30 at the Victoria Infirmary, while it is estimated that over a hundred persons went to their homes after receiving attention at the infirmaries or in the field.

A large proportion of the sufferers have sustained very serious injuries, such as broken thighs or legs, or fractured skulls. Most of the injuries were received by the victims striking iron beams as they fell. Some of the victims presented a ghastly sight, one man having a big gash in his throat sustained in the fall, another with an eye gouged out.

The route to the infirmary for a long time was lined with all sorts of hastily improved ambulance waggons. Among those carried in was a lady very respectably attired, and it is believed several of her ribs were broken. Every available room was occupied by the injured, who, in stress of the occasion, had to be laid on tables and on the floor.

The scenes at the Western Infirmary were most heartrending, men and women bursting into tears on learning that someone near and dear to them had passed away. Mrs. George Maxwell McAuslin, who had been married only about six months, visited all the infirmaries in the city in search of her husband, and it was a pitiful sight when she was taken to the mortuary and shown Mr. McAuslin’s lifeless body.

Owing to the sudden strain upon the staff of the Western Infirmary none of the doctors and nurses were able to retire to rest on Saturday night. Four hundred beds were occupied before the disaster, and as the injured from Ibrox Park were coming in continuously for three or four hours 200 extra beds were fitted up with promptitude.

Dr. Macintosh, the resident surgeon, stated yesterday afternoon that some of the injured in the Infirmary were in a serious condition, and a few more deaths might occur. Yesterday morning there was a large crowd outside the fates of the institution, and the list of dead and injured was eagerly scanned. The telegraph office was besieged by people sending messages to friends.
(Sunderland Daily Echo: April 7, 1902)

Dundee Courier: April 7, 1902.
Ibrox Park 1902 Dundee Courier 7 apr

Dundee Courier: April 8, 1902.
Ibrox Park 1902 Dundee Courier 8 apr

Glasgow Herald: April 7, 1902.
Ibrox Park 1902 Glasgow Herald 7 Apr

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