Played in Glasgow

Charting the heritage of a city at play


By: Ged O'Brien
RRP: £14.99 (post-free to UK)
Special offer: £10 (post-free to UK)
Format: 228pp softback 210mm x 210mm
ISBN: 978 0954744 557
Published by Malavan Media in association with Historic Scotland in March 2010
Featuring specially commissioned photography by Stuart Wallace, award winning photographer with the Sunday Times


In 2014 Glasgow will host the Commonwealth Games, welcoming thousands of athletes and visitors from around the world. Yet as this, the fourth in-depth urban study in the acclaimed Played in Britain series reveals, Glasgow has long been at the forefront of sporting development.

It is well documented - if not always acknowledged south of the border - that the modern form of Association football owes its origins to the 'passing game' of Queen's Park FC in the 1870s, and that by the early 20th century Glasgow's three leading football clubs had the largest stadiums in the world. Nor is it a coincidence that the world's first specialist stadium designer was a Glaswegian engineer.

But beyond Hampden Park and the famed (and often infamous) rivalry of Celtic and Rangers, there exists across Glasgow a fascinating network of Junior clubs, community grounds and hidden heritage. The red, dusty 'blaes' pitch - scourge of many a schoolboy's knees - is as much a part of that heritage as are the swards of Glasgow Green.

Over the last century Glasgow has had three racecourses and eight greyhound tracks. It has a surprising number of long established cricket clubs, and a range of fine Edwardian and Art Deco pavilions too. It was in Glasgow in 1848 that the rules of modern bowling were set out - leading to a higher concentration of greens in the city than anywhere else in Britain. The most popular of these greens, laid out on the site of the 1901 Kelvingrove International Exhibition, will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games tournament. Also in Glasgow is the world's oldest manufacturer of bowls equipment, Thomas Taylor.

As might be expected in Scotland, the map of Glasgow is dotted and ringed by a web of nearly 40 public and private golf courses, many with their own topographic quirks and interesting clubhouses. Less evidence survives of nearly a hundred former curling ponds, although author Ged O'Brien has discovered the 1902 clubhouse of the Partick Club, hidden away in a Glasgow park. O'Brien also reveals where Britain's first black footballer lived in the 1880s when he captained Queen's Park and was capped by Scotland, and the site of the private swimming club where the sport of water polo was invented in 1877. Two other Victorian private baths clubs survive and thrive - the Arlington and the Western - each with original features not to be found anywhere outside Scotland. Less well known is a network of home-made 'doocots', built by rival pigeon-fanciers on wastegrounds across the city as part of a time-honoured local tradition. O'Brien enters this secretive world to explain how it is done.

With its accessible blend of social, cultural, historical and architectural detail, backed up by stunning archive and modern photography and maps, Played in Glasgow offers a new angle on the city's rich heritage as it prepares the next generation of 21st Century sporting facilities for 2014.

Played in Glasgow is sponsored by Historic Scotland and Glasgow City Council.

Wellcroft Bowling Club

Wellcroft Bowling Club

A fine day at Wellcroft, one of three clubs that lays claim to being the oldest in Glasgow. Wellcroft were founded in 1835 and moved to Queen's Park in 1876. The ornate ironwork seen on their pavilion may be older still, resembling as it does that of their previous clubhouse, built on Eglinton Street in the 1850s.

From page 1 of Played in Glasgow
(Photograph © Stuart Wallace.)

Arlington Baths Club

Arlington Baths Club

With only a brass plate on the door to reveal its identity, the Arlington Baths Club could hardly be more discreet. Yet, having opened in 1871, seven years before the Glasgow's first public baths, Arlington is the oldest private baths club in Britain, and possibly even the world.

From page 205 of Played in Glasgow
(Photograph © Simon Inglis.)

Newcastle City pool

Hillhead Sports Club

A 1920s pavilion of note belonging to the Hillhead Sports Club at Hughenden. The club was set up in 1902 by former members of Hillhead High School who went on to develop their Hughenden site and open this splendid pavilion in 1924. The building was designed by W Hunter McNab.

From page 115 of Played in Glasgow
(Photograph © Historic Scotland.)

Played in Glasgow contents


Chapter 1: Played in Glasgow - setting the scene • Glasgow's role in modern British sport • growth of the city • early sports clubs • map of city's main sports-related sites •


Chapter 2: Glasgow Green - early sporting events • formation Glasgow Golf Club • outdoor gymnasium • football on Fleshers' Haugh • regattas on the Clyde • links between rowers and Rangers FC • links between harriers and Celtic FC •


Chapter 3: Queen's Park - evolution into stronghold of sport • growth of Queen's Park Bowling and Tennis Club • Queen's Park FC • Hampden Bowling Club • Third Lanark FC • Cathkin Park • New Cathkin Park • Hampden Park • Lesser Hampden • Clincart Farm •


Chapter 4: East End - Barrowfield Park 1894 • Victoria Racecourse • Rosebery Park • Shawfield FC • works grounds • Helenvale Park • Parkhead Bowling Club • Celtic Park • cycling and athletics • 2014 Commonwealth Games locations •


Chapter 5: Pollok Park - Sir John Stirling Maxwell • Poloc Cricket Club • Cartha Athletic Club • Cartha Queen's Park RFC • Pollok Golf Club • Dr Alister MacKenzie • Cowglen Golf Club • Haggs Castle Golf Club • Lochinch • Craigholme School Sports Centre • Titwood Bowling and Tennis Club •


Chapter 6: Govan and Bellahouston - Clyde shipbuilders' sports grounds • Bellahouston Bowling Club • Bellahouston Park • 1938 Empire Exhibition • Tait's Tower • Palace of Art • Glasgow Ski and Snowboard Centre • Ibrox Park • Archibald Leitch, stadium engineer • White City Stadium • Albion Stadium •


Chapter 7: Jordanhill and Anniesland - Westerlands • Hillhead Sports Club • Kelvinside Academy • New Anniesland • Old Anniesland • Jordanhill College • Scotstoun Stadium • Scotstoun Leisure Centre • National Badminton Centre •


Chapter 8: Golf - Glasgow GC • Renfrew GC • Ruchill Park • Ralston GC • Fereneze GC • Cawder GC • Linn Park • Littlehill • Bishopbriggs GC • Cambuslang GC • Kirkhill GC • Williamwood GC • John Letters & Co • Springvale Golf Works • Cathkin Braes GC • Whitecraigs GC •


Chapter 9: Bowls - early bowling greens • Willowbank BC • William W Mitchell • Wellcroft BC • Kelvingrove Park • Kirkhill BC • Wellshot BC • Clarkston BC • Cambuslang BC • Newlands BC • Hyndland BC • Cathcart BC • Pollokshaws BC • Whitevale BC • Eglinton Jug • club badges • Titwood BC • Thomas Taylor bowls manufacturers • King's Park BC • West of Scotland Indoor Bowling Club • Balornock BC • Corunna BC • University of Glasgow BC • St Vincent BC •


Chapter 10: Ice sports - Bingham's Pond • curling on Westburn Green • Partick Curling Club • Glasgow's first indoor ice rink • Crossmyloof Ice Rink • Braehead Arena •


Chapter 11: Cricket - Burnbank 1871 • Clydesdale CC • Hamilton Crescent Cricket Ground • West of Scotland CC • Poloc CC • Kelburne CC • Glasgow Academicals •


Chapter 12: Football - Junior football • Meadowside Park • Plantation • Clyde FC • Scottish Football Museum • Andrew Watson, first black footballer • Greenbank Leather Works • Firhill • Partick Thistle • Glasgow Warriors • Lochburn Park • Newlandsfield Park • Tinto Park • Greenfield Park • Holm Park • Petershill Park • Southcroft Park • New Southcroft Park • blaes pitches • Toryglen Regional Football Centre •


Chapter 13: Greyhounds and speedway - Shawfield Stadium • Wester Carntyne • White City • Glasgow Tigers • Ashfield Stadium •


Chapter 14: Swimming - 19th century beginnings • subscription baths • William Harley • William Wilson • invention of water polo • Victoria Baths Club • Arlington Baths Club •Western Baths Club • Dennistoun Baths Club • Greenhead Baths and Wash House • Kay Street Baths • North Woodside Leisure Centre • Springboig Industrial School • St Bride's Primary School • Maryhill Public Baths • Whiteinch Baths • Pollokshaws Baths • Whitevale Baths • Govanhill Baths • Tollcross Park Leisure Centre • Springburn Leisure Centre • Bellahouston Leisure Centre •


Chapter 15: Doocots - 'doo' culture • Easterhouse • Castlemilk • Pollok •


Chapter 16: Conclusions - Doors Open Days • Scottish Football Museum • Commemorations • Historic sports buildings • Buildings at risk • Collections • Archives • Education • Events • Re-use of redundant buildings for sport •