Tales From Govanhill
By Bruce Downie
The Expansion of Queen’s Park in 1893
In 1893, Queens Park was less than half the size it is now. The grounds of Camphill were still private, so the pressure on Queen’s Park by all the different sports club that wanted to use it was intense. Here’s a petition presented to Glasgow Town Council to buy the grounds at Camphill (which had just become available) and extend Queen’s Park.
Couldn’t read every signature but there’s an amazing number of clubs using the space and proves how important the park was to many people, including clubs from the north of the city who would have come to Queen’s Park to compete.
Today there are dedicated sports grounds around the city but back then, everybody trying to one of the few public spaces available at the same time must have been crazy.
‘The humble petition of the undersigned officials and representatives of athletic clubs in various districts of the city
‘That the serious encroachments which have been made up on the space available for games in the Recreation Ground of the Queens Park have had the effects of overcrowding the ground and compelling many to resort to feuing grounds in the neighbourhood. Those vacant places mostly been closed and although there is an ever increasing taste among young men for outdoor exercise and therefore a growing demand for more space the Recreation Ground has been more and more contracted by portions been taken away from a tennis court, for the deaf school, for a church, for the Victoria Street Primary and worst of all, for a long tenement of buildings thrust into the heart of the playground.
‘The great number of working young man and lads who form themselves in to athletic clubs for the more robust exercise obtained from cricket, rounders, football etc and who cannot afford to lease ground for this special use come to Queens Park grounds and that not only for the dense working population of the Southside but from all parts of the Southside as well.
‘Besides these regularly performed clubs there are great numbers of young men who are not associated but use the ground for the same and other athletic games with the result that many who desire opportunities for simpler exercise are prevented from engaging in them by the number by the danger of colliding with each other.
‘Your petitioners would for these and all the reasons urge the addition to the Queens Park of the ground on the summit and slopes of Camphill and this allow a portion of the enlarged park to be set aside for the enjoyment of quieter games and where also a gymnasium such as that one Glasgow Green, a maze puzzle and other interesting features might be added and found advisable.
‘May it please your honours therefore to purchase the whole of The Camphill grounds, so as to make such addition to the Queens Park as will relieve the overcrowded Recreation Ground and your petitioners will ever pray.’
Second Festia Thistle
Royal Park FC
Glasgow Juvenile Football Association (57 clubs)
Eastern Bluebell FC
Clubs for the Scottish Junior Football League
Clubs of the Glasgow North Eastern Junior Football Association
Darnley Cricket Club
Springfield Athletic Harriers
Second Victoria Park
First Victoria Park
Clubs of the Glasgow Junior Second XI Association