May 9, 1904
Great fire at Celtic Park
Grand Stand and Pavilion Gutted
£6,000 damage; only partly insured
Club likely to lose £4,000
The grand stand and pavilion at the grounds of the Celtic Football Club, Glasgow, were completely destroyed by fire last night. The central and Eastern Divisions, under Firemaster Patenson, were turned out, and on their arrival in the narrow roadway between the football ground and Janefield Cemetery the firemen found that the stand itself was a mass of flames, and that there was little or no hope of saving the pavilion. The fire had originated near the east end of the stand, and, fanned by a slight westerly wind, the flames were blown westward with terrible rapidity. In an incredible short time they worked their way through the open woodwork with a loud and ominous crackling which could be heard at a considerable distance. The wind carried the sparks in the direction of the “Grant” Stand, and at one time there was serious danger of it also becoming ignited. Fortunately the breeze was not of sufficient strength to carry the embers such a distance, but the scorched and blackened grass bore testimony to the danger in which this erection was placed. At one juncture the fire presented a brilliant spectacle.
Before the police arrangements had been thoroughly perfected the crowd in Janefield Street was very dense, and numbers had climbed upon the wall of the cemetery. When at its height the fire shed a brilliant reflection on the sky, which was seen for miles around. As far away as Coatbridge the semi-circular glow showed clear above the horizon. From the other side of the park the spectacle was a fine one, the whole erection with the woodwork of the terracing and the roof all ablaze, the iron struts and girders standing out against the bright background, parts of the corrugated iron roof falling in large sheets into the burning basement of the structure and throwing up great showers of sparks and flames. About half an hour after the brigade arrived the large flagstaff which stood above at the centre of the stand fell outwards into the street, carrying with it a portion of the structure. The fire at this time had spread to the west end of the grand stand, and soon the pavilion also was in flames. This building, being like the stand principally constructed of wood and of light and inflammable material, burned rapidly. The upper storey was completely destroyed, and although one or two of the rooms in the ground flat were not burned out, the building was totally wrecked. By midnight the flames had pretty well spent themselves. All the corrugated iron of the roof had fallen in great twisted masses among the burned and ruined terracing, and the beams and girders lay bent among the other debris, the whole presenting a picturesque sight.
The grand stand, which was on the north side of the field, was about 110 yards in length and 30 yards breadth. It was constructed after the usual pattern of such erections, with terraced seats rising backwards from the cycling track to the outside of the grounds to a height altogether of about 50 feet. It provided sitting accommodation for 3,500 spectators, and had a corrugated iron roof supported on steel struts and girders. The pavilion, which stood a little to the north-west of the stand, was a comparatively small building, being only about 40 feet by 30 feet and two storeys in height. It included the rooms of the club, a billiard room, in which was a table which cost £75; retiring-rooms for the players, bathrooms, and other apartments. In the pavilion was a large quantity of what in football parlance is described as “stock,” consisting of players’ clothing, hurdles and other athletic apparatus, and seats for the track, to the value of about £500. When erected about ten years ago the stand and pavilion cost about £6,000. The erections, however, have from time to time been strengthened and improved to meet the requirements of the Dean of Guild Court. So recently as the International football match, which was played on 9th of last month, the stan was completely renovated, and having been officially inspected by the Master of Works, the liners of the Court declared it to be safe and sound in every respect.
The erections destroyed were insured to the extent of only about £2,000; and there was no insurance on the contents of the pavilion. The loss to the Club will therefore amount to fully £4,000. The stand which has been destroyed, it should be understood, is the grand, or north, stand – not the “Grant” stand, which is on the opposite side of the field.
Notwithstanding the destruction of the stand, the match between the Hibernians and the Celtic will be played to-night according to arrangement.
(Evening Telegraph: May 10, 1904)
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