Under Construction

The Hampden Collection Celebrates its 5th Birthday – An organisation set up to protect the Hampden Park Legacy and promote Scotland as the Home of Football

Friday 30th December 2022

On this day in 2017, Queen’s Park played Albion Rovers in the Scottish League Division 1 at the 3rd Hampden Park. Before the game, and during half-time, a short film was played on the big screens showcasing the 3 Hampden Parks. This was the next step in promoting the existing campaign to #Restore1stHampden, and launched the new campaign to #KeepHampdenRoaring.

This is where the acorn was sown of a new organisation called The Hampden Collection, with one straighforward mission statement, ‘Promote, Protect and Celebrate the 3 Hampden Parks and all who played on them’. This is an all-encompassing objective, supporting the history of Scottish Football, and the Scotch Professors, both men and women, who took the modern passing and running game to the world.

At the time, the sites of the 1st Hampden and 3rd Hampden were under threat, and had the potential of suffering the same fate as 2nd Hampden: aka Cathkin Park, and become a relic of football history. The 1st Hampden pavilion and site had reincarnated as Hampden Bowling Club and Kingsley Rose Gardens, but were on the brink of extinction; and the SFA was eyeing up a potential move to Murrayfield. Without the 1st and 3rd Hampden, the last 5 years would not have happened. They have been the centrepiece of everything we do, and we have built around them to create the world’s biggest open-air football museum – Football’s Square Mile, with the ambition to protect them, and many other sites, for generations to come.

The last 5 years are well documented. You may have been one of the 22,000 visitors to our website, read some of the 1,000’s of posts on Facebook and Twitter, visited the 1st Hampden Mural, explored the countless articles in the papers, interviews on Radio, TV and Youtube, and attended Hampden Collection events. The Hampden Collection Juggernaut continues to go through the gears and we hope you are enjoying the journey.

Professor Fiona Skillen and Lindsay Hamilton discussing the Scottish roots of international football


There are three key lessons from all of this work, which we take into the next 5 years:

Lesson 1 – The history of Scottish Football, and its place as the creator of the beautiful people’s game, is wrapped up in the Hampden Park Legacy and Football’s Square Mile. Without maps, or the ability to see, feel, touch or sit within these buildings and sites, the world will never fully understand the legacy of the Scotch Professors. These men and women exported the modern passing and running ‘Scottish Game’ to the Football Family of 3.5 billion people around the globe. These landmarks are precious and they must be protected.

Lesson 2 – The grand architects and master stadium builders of Queen’s Park Football Club, and the 1700+ Cricket Clubs of the Greater Glasgow area, are the reasons why Football exploded into the greatest cultural phenomenon the world has ever seen. The world plays the Scottish game, and we need everyone to learn this story to take our ‘baw’ back from those who think the ‘Home of Football’ is somewhere else.

Lesson 3 – Everyone has the ability to be a historian. As soon as you have the confidence to tell a story based on facts, then you are a historian. This football history is your history, my history, our history and everyone’s history. This is not someone’s history. Nobody owns this, and it is certainly not intellectual property. This statement is to encourage everyone who dabbles in our football culture, and commend those who have a profession in researching football history. You are the small acorns, who may one day become the mighty oaks telling the world this story.

Richard ‘Siggy’ Young explaining the role of Cricket Clubs in the explosion of the world’s biggest sport

These lessons are important when we look ahead to the next 5 years:

If you had asked the populace in 2017, ‘Where is the site of the 1st Hampden?’, they would have pointed at the current national football stadium.

If you had asked them in 2017, ‘Who invented football?,’ they may have said Scotland, but may not have had all the facts to back it up.

If you asked, ‘What’s the plan to take our baw back?’, people would point to the group of football fans who are pushing this story. The Copa90 video for the Euros showcased this – if you haven’t seen it then you must have a peak – https://youtu.be/4N6NL0JGS9Y

And there are stark reminders of the knife-edge some of these buildings are standing on. Clincart Farm being a prime example, where there is a lot of angst out there about the buiding being demolished. If you are one of those people, then please ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are you are a member of Queen’s Park Football Club?
  2. Are you a member of the Queen’s Park Football Club Committee?
  3. Did you have a campaign to designate the site or save it in the last 5 years?

If your answer is ‘no’ to these questions, and you were aware of the site’s significance and are annoyed at its demolition, then the inquest starts with you.

Our mission is to save as many buildings and landmarks as possible, but we are a volunteer organisation, with limits. We implore everyone to follow this example, and do it in a positive fashion.

The 1st Hampden Mural designed by Ashley Rawson, The Hampden Collection Artist in Residence and Centrepiece of the #Restore1stHampden Campaign

Our Future

This is not a solo mission, and The Hampden Collection is not the only organisation promoting this story. We are playing our part in cultivating an interest in Scotland’s pioneering role in football, and having a lot of fun along the way.

Here are some examples:

  1. Our four #Fitba150 events in November 2022, created free entry for over 500 people; with coverage tweeted by UEFA, FIFA and appeared on the news as far away as Japan.
  2. Established the World Home of Football Poetry, with three poetry collections and containing 126 poems about the beautiful game.
  3. Created the 100-foot mural dedicated to the Scotland 5-1 England game in 1882 on the rear of Hampden Bowling Club via a crowdfunder. This marked the 1st Hampden Park for all to see.
  4. Converted Hampden Bowling Club into a charitable institution and put it on the road to survival.
  5. Established the 3 Hampden Walking Tour with Glasgow Football Tour; showing over 300 people around the Hampden sites and telling them the story of football.
  6. Published a chapter every Sunday at 830pm, for 256 weeks and counting; about the story of football. Each chapter is 220 words, requiring one minute of your time and is called Football Queens and Kings. There are 109 chapters remaining to be written.
Our #Fitba150 event, celebrating the 1st international football match, West of Scotland Cricket Ground, Hampden Collection’s Barry Kirk and Graeme Brown represented in the official photo

The next 5 years are equally important and we have three simple objectives:

  1. #Restore1stHampden is the heart of everything we do – the mission started in 2015, when I became Secretary of Hampden Bowling Club and continues to this day through the Hampden Collection.
  2. Continue our UNESCO World Heritage Campaign for #FootballsSquareMile and build our Football Square Mile Alliance to make this a reality.
  3. Celebrate all the key anniversaries of football under our #Fitba150 programme of events.
Three Hampden Collection Poets In Chief, Stephen Watt, Jim Mackintosh and Julie McNeill

These are some of the foundation blocks we have put in place for our mission. They have cost nothing, apart from a huge amount of volunteer effort, and encapsulate the Queen’s Park motto of ‘Ludere Causa Ludendi’.

Thank You

This is a massive thank you and congratulations to the team of fantastic volunteers and supporting organisations, who are delivering these projects and spreading the Scotch Professor story. This includes the great ties with the Tartan Army, who will play a massive role in everything we do in the next 5 years. As the saying goes, ‘No Scotland, No Party’.

We all know that this is the end of the beginning, and the fun is really about to start.

The Tartan Army enjoying 1st Hampden hospitality before a Scotland Game

All the very best for 2023 and beyond.

Graeme Brown

Presenting at the #Fitba150 Event in the Scottish Football’s Hall of Fame; Hampden Collection Founder and Gaffer, Graeme Brown