Ibrox Stadium (part 1)

By farley1968
Last updated : 07 April 2007

The Rangers Football Club moved to the First Ibrox Park after having previously spent spells at Glasgow Green, Burnbank and Kinning Park. The First Ibrox is on the site where The Edmiston Club is today. The Club had won the League in 1899 without dropping a point. On the back of this success and the club becoming a limited liability company, they developed a new ground next door to the old one. The last match was played at First Ibrox on 9th December 1899.

The Club moved next door and opened their new stadium on 30th December 1899 in a League match vs. Hearts.

When first opened the ground held 40,000 and it had a two-storey Pavilion and a substantial stand with semi-circular central gable, which had probably been moved from the First Ibrox. This grandstand when completed the following year, seated 4,500. Opposite was the Covered Enclosure, which was later known as the "Bovril Stand" after the advert, which was on the front.

The ground had been designed by Archibald Leitch, a Glasgow-born Engineer, who was involved with many of the main football grounds in the Great Britain.

Picture below shows the Old Pavilion at the southeast corner (approx corner of East Enclosure and Copland Stand today)

The Club was expanding and had a desire to stage International matches at their new ground. Rangers erected wooden terracing at the West End built on an iron framework. The ground now had a capacity of 68,000. This was to prove disastrous as it gave way during the Scotland vs. England match on 5th April 1902. In the resulting chaos 26 people lost their lives. This was The First Ibrox Disaster.

Picture below shows the wooden terracing after the collapse.

After the 1902 disaster, The Rangers again called on the services of Archibald Leitch. Under his guidance, solid bank terracing was built at both ends of the ground. By 1905, for safety reasons the capacity was reduced to 25,000. However within five years with further expansion, the capacity had once again risen to 63,000. The ground now had its oval shape.

Picture above - Ibrox Park in the 1920's. On the right is the original Grandstand and at it's far end, the Pavilion. Opposite is the "Bovril Stand" or Covered Enclosure.

The 1920's were a period of outstanding success for The Rangers. In 1928 they won their first League and Cup Double. They celebrated by embarking on building the grandest stand in Britain. With both money and space readily available, the club gave Leitch the chance to surpass himself. The Main Stand, which was opened on 1st January 1929, is widely acknowledged to be Leitch's finest work and is more lavish and expansive than those he built at Goodison and Fratton Park.

By this time the front section of the North Enclosure roof (Bovril Stand) had been removed, leaving only the rear section. Behind the goals at both ends were open terracing.

Picture below shows Edmiston Drive and Main Stand façade.

The main façade on Edmiston Drive is in redbrick with art deco and neo-classical features. On each corner in blue and gold mosaic is the Club Crest with the motto "Aye Ready".

Beside this at either end is a set of wrought-iron gates in blue and white, which include the club name. The whole façade exudes prestige and power even to this day and has become a listed building such is its importance and position within the city of Glasgow.

On the above photo of this early 1960's match at Ibrox notice the floodlights positioned just under the edge of the Main Stand roof - these would later be moved in 1967 to stanchions on the roof. The stand had individual wooden seating for 10,500 with room for a further 9,000 standing in the enclosure below. On the roof was an ornately castellated Press Box with central flagpole. The front of the stand included Leitch's trademark, a criss-cross balcony wall, which was seen at other grounds where he had worked.

part two >>

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