Scotstoun Uncovered: Stadium Uses Through The Ages

In its long history, stretching over 110 years, Scotstoun has served the Glasgow sports community well, and a new chapter is about to be written when Warriors kick off the 2012/13 season.

Athletics and rugby have always been bedfellows going back to the very beginning, especially in the west of Scotland with two rugby clubs Glasgow Accies and West of Scotland being founder members of the Scottish Amateur Athletics in 1883.

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As we prepare for the first campaign of RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup rugby at Scotstoun Stadium, Hugh Barrow charts the prestigious history of our new home in a series of informative articles.

In this his third piece, Hugh takes a look at the various teams, sports and spectacles to which our new home has borne witness down the years.

Our picture shows Colin Jackson storming to victory in the 110m hurdles in a Great Britain v USA Norwich Union Challenge staged in 2000, before the stadium was redeveloped.

In its long history, stretching over 110 years, Scotstoun has served the Glasgow sports community well, and a new chapter is about to be written when Warriors kick off the 2012/13 season.

Athletics and rugby have always been bedfellows going back to the very beginning, especially in the west of Scotland with two rugby clubs Glasgow Accies and West of Scotland being founder members of the Scottish Amateur Athletics in 1883.

The oldest surviving athletics meeting in Glasgow was originally organised by the Glasgow Accies, starting in 1868. It still takes place today in the form of the Glasgow Academy Sports.

Rugby has played its part in Scotstoun's journey, used at various times by clubs and schools as well as hosting representative matches.

Glasgow played their season 1997/98 Heineken Cup matches here, while the main resident club has, of course, been Hyndland, currently driven by enthusiasts like Alex Mack. The club has played at Scotstoun for well over 70 years.

Rugby at Scotstoun, however, goes back even further, right to the beginning of the 1900s when the likes of Glasgow HSFP and Kelvinside Accies_along with others played there on their journeys to Old Anniesland and Balgray respectively.

The High School records show that they were playing there in 1900/01 in what would now seem a rural setting. An extract from the records states: "The ground was not easily reached and conditions primitive, the pavilion being a wooden hut and washing facilities were a few basins of water on planks supported by barrels which collected the rain water."

They paid an annual rental of _100 for the privilege to the Agricultural Society who owned the ground at that time. Sometimes the ground would be referred to in fixture cards as Scotstoun Mains, while matches were also played in Victoria Park with changing accommodation in the Whiteinch Baths "steamie" - at least you got a hot wash, which was not always the case at Scotstoun.

Glasgow HSFP continued to use Scotstoun up to the outbreak of World War 1 when it was taken over by the military in support of the war effort. Victoria Park AAC also used the Whiteinch steamie as a winter HQ for the road running season.

The arrival of the Clyde Tunnel in the 1960s spelled the beginning of the end for the Whiteinch Baths and it was recently demolished to make way for a housing development.

Changing at the Showgrounds at that time, with no internal corridor under the stand,_meant you had to go outside down the back of the stand to the showers and back which often provided entertainment for the residents of Danes Drive.

One such lady resident whose modesty had been offended by the sight of semi-naked men running up and down behind the stand complained to the police, and a young constable was despatched from Partick Police Station to investigate.

When he looked out from the lady's window all he could see was the red brick fa_ade, still standing today, and enquired what was the problem, to which the lady retorted "Son, you have to stand on this table."

The proximity of Scotstoun to Jordanhill College (then the Scottish School of Physical Education) meant it was a facility that could be used for governing body training courses covering various sports.

Many Jordanhill alumni became hugely influential in Scottish sport such as Bill Dickinson and John Anderson. Another was Tom McNab, who has held many posts including fitness adviser to the RFU, screen consultant on Chariots of Fire and author of sports books like The Rings of Sand that predicted much of what has happened to the Olympic Games that we know today.

From the 1870s the Inter City Glasgow v Edinburgh rugby clash was played just along the road from Scotstoun at Hamilton Crescent, having moved_ from Burnbank to the home of West of Scotland FC until it transferred to New Anniesland in 1922 when a certain Eric Liddell turned up on the wing for Edinburgh.

However that is another story for another time later in the season when the 1872 Cup, and its 140th anniversary, take centre stage once more.