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No Mean City: 1914 to 1950s

Buildings and Cityscape

Sports Venues

By Irene Maver

GCT swimmers The First World War had a disruptive effect on sport in Glasgow, but by 1917 there were signs of revival. Bostock's new roller-skating rink in Cowcaddens was particularly popular with munitions workers. Glasgow Corporation continued to be a major provider of sporting outlets during the immediate post-war period, partly to keep promises made in 1912 when several outlying districts were added to the city. The swimming baths in Pollokshaws (1920), Shettleston (1924) and Govan (1925) were designed in the distinctive municipal red brick style. New public parks were also laid out. Glenconner Park (1924), in the working-class Garngad area, had two bowling greens, four tennis courts and four football pitches.

Firhill Stadium, 1958 The Corporation's Kelvin Hall was built in 1927 and its extensive floor space made it suitable for sporting spectacles such as boxing. However, there was controversy over the use of municipal property for such purposes, with critics claiming that the sport "aroused ugly passions" and encouraged gambling. Similarly controversial was the vogue for greyhound racing that took off spectacularly from 1928. That year four privately funded tracks were operating in Glasgow – Carntyne, Firhill Park, the Albion and White City. Popular sports such as the "dogs" acquired a mass following, but the more specialist pursuits also expanded their base of support. Thus, Crossmyloof Ice Rink, which had closed during the war, was considerably extended in 1938.

Hampden Park, 1920 Glasgow had eight municipal golf courses by the 1930s, although in 1904 the private Glasgow Golf Club had moved to grounds at Killermont, just outside the city's western boundary. Not surprisingly, association football was the sport that aroused the most intense Glaswegian passion and the city boasted the three largest purpose-built stadiums in the world. After various structural alterations during the 1920s and 1930s, Hampden Park could accommodate 150,000 spectators, Ibrox Park 118,000 and Celtic Park 92,000. In 1937 Hampden achieved an all-time record for the number of spectators at a British football match when 149,415 attended a Scotland-England international.

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