Cathkin Park

27 02 2012

Thanks to Bangor’s Welsh Cup exit I had known for weeks that the Saturday just gone was going to a free day. When I saw that Queen’s Park and Celtic were at home I was presented with the ideal opportunity to visit Glasgow again. Consequently I spent the last few weeks looking for places of interest on the internet. The museum of Scottish football was one place that came across as quite interesting. Whilst I tried to find concrete details about this museum I came across the name Cathkin Park.

Those two words meant nothing to me until I read the Wikipedia entry about Hampden Park. The present Hampden Park was the third ground to use that name, Cathkin Park was the location of the second Hampden. When I clicked on the Cathkin Park hyperlink I found out that the ground became the home of Third Lanark when Queen’s Park moved to the present site of Hampden.

At this point my imagination went ahead of me. Third Lanark is one of those evocative names in British Football. Like Bon Accord, Renton, Blackburn Olympic and Borough United the name of Third Lanark belongs to a football, and an epoch of British society, that’s slightly shrouded by the mists of time, representing a link to a lost history or a supposed glorious past. When I found photos on various websites I could sense the glorious feeling that had once surrounded Cathkin Park;

Unfortunately there is also evidence of the venue’s fall into disrepair by the 1970s;

As I found out on Saturday, Cathkin Park is now a recreational park. The venue now looks like this;

As I stood near the dilapidated terraces (I tried standing on the dilapidated terrace but I slipped on some moss and bruised my hand) I was overcome by the wistful air that descends when I see  the evidence of so-called progress; shells of ornate Victorian buildings, boarded up and abandoned theatres, expensive care homes that are built on the sites of ex-cinemas or even disused factories.

When I’m presented with such a scene of urban decay I can’t help contrasting the lack of life in front of me with images of the times when these places were teeming with life. I can’t help but picture the crowds, the throng and the hubbub that must have surrounded these places in their heyday. It’s the waste that really gets to me, the sense that certain buildings / institutions simply have no use in the Darwinian march towards profitability.

The disused terraces of Cathkin Park remind you that our time is not the only time when sentiment has come distant second to hard-nosed economic ideas, football clubs have been dissolved on economic grounds for as long as there has been organised football.

Thankfully there are people who are not willing to think along narrow economic lines. A reincarnated football club called Third Lanark now exists. In fact not only do they exist they play in Cathkin Park; they use the pitch that you can see in the photos. It’s great that there are still enough people who care for an institution with such history. There is even a campaign to redevelop the ground. There is also this site about Third Lanark’s history.  There are plenty of great photos on those sites.

It’s great to know that another world is possible, where humans can begin to dictate circumstances, not vice-versa. While this kind of thinking is on a local level it does give hope.

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31 03 2012
Scottish Sojourns « Llandudno Jet Set

[…] helpful person had sent me off in the wrong direction when we were outside Mount Florida station. Catkin Park was quite an eerie sight; it was redolent of glory days and failed […]

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