Video – Celtic Park On Fire: Paradise Twice In Flames


The new Celtic Park was awkward at times in Celtic’s early years. The problems first emerged with the stadium when the disastrous Grant Stand was opened ahead of a 5-0 league victory over St Bernard’s FC on October 28, 1899. The stand required construction of the road we know today. now under the name Kerrydale Street, so the huge gallery could be linked to London Road. It has undergone a number of modifications in an attempt to overcome the problem of condensation. The installed windows may have been a weather retarder, but when the booth was full they had an annoying tendency to fog up and prevent occupants from seeing the game.

The worst was yet to come on May 9, 1904, when a separate structure with the same name, the Grand Stand and the Pavilion, caught fire. The grandstand was on the north side of the pitch and spanned the entire length of the pitch, unlike the Grant stand which stood on the other side of the stadium.

The Evening Telegraph provided the following information in a report dated May 10, 1904: The grandstand was constructed with terraced seating rising towards the rear of the bike path to a height of 50 feet. It provided seating for 3,500 spectators and had a corrugated iron roof, supported by steel beams and beams. The pavilion, which stood a little northwest of the grandstand, was a relatively small building, measuring only 40 feet by 30 feet and two stories in height. It consisted of the club rooms, a billiard room, in which there was a table which cost £ 75; retirement rooms for players, bathrooms and other apartments. In the pavilion was a large amount of what in football parlance is described as’ stock ‘, consisting of players’ clothing, hurdles and other athletic equipment, as well as seats for the track, d ‘worth around £ 500. When erected around ten years ago, the stand and pavilion cost around £ 6,000. The erections, however, have been occasionally strengthened and improved to meet the demands of the dean of the guild court. As recently as the international football match, which took place on the 9th of last month, the grandstand was completely renovated and after being officially inspected by the foreman, the Court liners declared it safe and sound at all respects.

The fire started near the east side of the grandstand and, fueled by a light westerly wind, the flames spread through the stadium with tremendous speed. The wind carried sparks towards Grant Stand and there was a serious danger that this structure would ignite as well. Fortunately, the breeze was not of sufficient force to carry the embers such a distance, but the scorched and blackened grass testified to the danger in which the erection was placed.

A local man named James MacDonald quickly sounded the alarm on London Road before firefighters were again notified of the emergency by a man named Mr Anderson on Great Eastern Avenue. However, when the firefighters arrived via the small road between Janefield Street Cemetery and the back of the stand, they were greeted by a spectacle not unlike the Blackpool illuminations. There was no way to save the Grand Tribune or the Pavilion.

The Grand Stand was insured to the tune of around £ 2,000, but there was no insurance on the contents of the pavilion. The loss to the club was therefore £ 4,000.

After the 1904 fire, damage to the pavilion side of the stadium was repaired. However, by May 1929 the job was finished when Celtic Park fell even more unlucky and caught fire.

Construction workers, designing a new south stand, spotted flames bursting through the windows of the pavilion. They quickly sounded the alarm but the cruelty of the fire, combined with the wooden composition of the structure, caused the lodge to be doomed before a firefighter could even arrive. The first photographs and documents of the first 40 years of the club were stored in the building. Valuable photographs, including the original Celtic team, the first Celtic players to win the Scottish Cup and the league title, and unique photographs of Micky Dunbar, John H McLaughlin, John Glass and other prominent Celtic men , were unrecoverable.

The fire destroyed everything except a safe. The safe, the contents of which were all hopes, had been damaged after hitting a radiator as it fell from the upper floor. Fortunately, the club’s early files on charitable contributions, committee members, and plans to find land for a stadium, etc. were found inside in good condition. Their survival allows us to tell the Celtic story.