Pathhead Farm and the Rec

Pathhead Farm and the Recreation Ground might seem a strange place to put under the title of Hampden. I have done this because the Rec was Queens Park’s home ground for an important six years. To be specific, they played in the Queen’s Park. The Eastern half of the park, which was then, on its own. Many other teams had the same idea. After all, where else could you play? The western side of Queens Park what’s the camp Hill estate. Owned by the Thomson family, do you state was sold to Hutcheson’s Hospital in 1866. They sold it to Glasgow Corporation in 1893. It was only in 1891 that the boundary of Glasgow was extended south to the River Cart.

What about the bit on which everyone played football? That had also been owned by the Thomson family. Neale Thomson sold it to Glasgow Corporation, for £30,000, in 1857. It was the third Glasgow Park. No wonder it was packed with people kicking a ball about. It seems that QPFC were using the Recreation ground part of the land almost from the off. This make it difficult to work out where they marked out a pitch.

Robinson’s book on Queen’s Park is very vague about Queen’s Park in the early years. What we do know, is that they played for six years on either the park itself or, more likely, the recreation ground. Coincidentally, the Deaf and Dumb Institute was built at the same time as the Spiders got going. They used the Gatehouse of the Institute to store their uniforms and equipment. If this is so, then it would make sense that they used the nice flat area immediately in front of the Gatehouse. The Gatehouse is long gone and most of the pitch has been built on for the new Victoria hospital.

This patch of ground is vital, because it is where teams like the Vale of Leven and Hamilton Gymnasium were invited. The 1872 international starkly showed that football needed a home of its own. Glasgow Corporation had complained about the damage to fences being done by Queens Park members. This would have been when they were collecting the kit, goalposts corner flags et cetera from the Deaf and Dumb Institute Gatehouse.

I reckon the games were played immediately to the north of the Gatehouse. Before 1884, the Old Cathcart Road crossed the eastern corner of the Rec. Ironically, this was why the corporation were happy to allow Queen’s Park to rent the sight of the first Hampden. It was the last Field of Pathhead Farm, but it was totally isolated from the rest of the Recreation Ground. It was therefore of little use, apart from renting out for grazing or saving hay. As Queens Park moved to the new ground, they also move their equipment to the tollhouse which would’ve been on the corner of Cathcart Road and Prospecthill Road.

If you want to be really pedantic, Queen’s Park itself was Pathhead Farm. So was the Recreation Ground. So was the First Hampden. It was a compact area on the south side of Glasgow where modern world football was invented.

Giving History a Sporting Chance