The First Hampden Mural
a monument to the roots of the beautiful game
By Graeme Brown
The Hampden Collection was established in 2017 to celebrate the 3 Hampden Parks and all that played on them. One of the very little known facts is Hampden Bowling Club, in Crosshill, Glasgow, sits on the 1st Hampden Park built in 1873. This is the world’s first purposefully built international football ground and where the “Scotch Professors” developed the modern passing game of football and exported it to the world. This brand of football is now played or watched by 3.5 billion people. Our mission is to ensure this little known fact is shouted from the rooftops; Scotland did indeed invent the modern passing game and 1st Hampden provided the template for every football stadium that followed it.
The First Hampden
The First Hampden witnessed some of the greatest victories for Scotland and remarkably the original pavilion is still in tact. Our Artist in Residence, Ashley Rawson, has created a mural depicting Scotland’s victory over England in 1882 with the plan to have it painted on the pavilion rear wall. More importantly it shows Andrew Watson and Charles Campbell, who both played in this game and are considered two of Scotland’s greatest players.
Charles Campbell is considered one of the grand architects of the Scottish game. A star player at Queens Park and Scottish Captain, Campbell went on to be President of both Queens Park and the Scottish Football Association. Campbell refereed the 1889 Scottish Cup Final, otherwise dubbed the “Snow Final”. This is one of the most famous finals in Scottish Footballing history between Celtic and 3rd Lanark, where 3rd Lanark won the competition in a replay.
Andrew Watson is one of our beacons of pride, in the history of sport in Scotland. In 1882, he graced this ground, in the dazzling 5 goal win for Scotland and went onto captain the Scottish side. Watson proved that it is the ability of a man, not the colour of his skin that is the sole defining characteristic for sporting genius. Andrew Watson is the world’s first black international football player, an amazing legacy for player, club and country.
You cannot underestimate the footballing prowess of Scotland at the time. The First Hampden Park was Scotland’s Tartan Fortress, playing here 6 times and undefeated. Scotland beat England 7-2, 5-4 and 5-1 and hosted Wales three times with wins of 9-0, 5-1 and 5-0. A record which will never be surpassed. Furthermore, both men featured in the 1881 match at Kennington Oval, where Scotland defeated England 6-1 on their own soil. So it was not just at home where Scotland ran amok tearing apart the English defence.
This history is one thing but it is Ashley Rawson, our Artist-In-Residence, who has turned it into a visual wonder. As a resident of Crosshill, he was always amazed and disappointed that the fascinating history of the area isn’t recognised, celebrated and invested in. This mural will change that overnight and be seen by around 200k people per week as the bowling club rear wall faces the Cathcart District Railway.
Therefore on the 137th anniversary of the fixture we launched our crowdfunding page to raise the funds to complete the work. We have featured in articles in the Evening Times, Scotsman and Glasgow Live, and our message is being pushed out across Facebook, Twitter and beyond. We have learned a huge amount from the #KeepHampdenRoaring campaign on how to create posts, tweets and videos that grab people’s attention and we will do everything possible to meet the £5,000 crowdfunding target to bring this project into a reality.
What we are most looking forward to the first international at the 3rd Hampden, when the mural is proudly on the pavilion wall. Imagine the packed trains whizzing by the 1st Hampden and looking out the window to see the mural. The fans walking up Cathcart Road on the way up to what they believe is the only Hampden Park and peering over the fence to see one of the greatest murals in football. This really is a one-off and is amazing to think that 5 years ago, people didn’t even know that there was such a thing as 3 Hampden Parks, never mind where the 1st Hampden was.