The Fourth Hampden
Lesser Hampden/Clincart Farm 1830?
In all the hullabaloo over the three Hampden Parks, one small but important ground has been forgotten. It is the ground known as Lesser Hampden. It sits behind the western Stand of Hampden which is known by most people in Glasgow as the ‘Rangers End’. It is possibly the ground with the oldest known football building in the world.
When Queen’s Park moved to their new Hampden Park, in 1903 they did not own the western field. That was Clincart Farm. The oldest record we have of the farm buildings, is the notice in 1836, that it was to be sold. The marketing puff of the time says that the farm was of 95 acres. The farm itself had only been built a ‘few’ years before. Few means small, so it is a guess whether the farm was built in 1834 or 1824. This might be another question for our friends at Archaeology Scotland to answer.
This story is like the curate’s egg: it is good in parts. Clincart Farm was turned into a football pitch in the 1920s. The two buildings closest to the camera and the one on the right, with the haystacks in front of it are gone. The farm in the middle distance was kept and windows were knocked out, on the first floor, so that QPFC members could get a better view.
I am ever optimistic, so I am delighted that Lesser Hampden has been developed tastefully in the last few years. It has modern offices at the south western end. With the SFA forcing the cheap sale of Greater Hampden to themselves, this building has now become the home of the world’s most important club. A new stand will be added on the other side of the field which is the current Lesser pitch.
Fun fact: beyond the Farm, on the left of the picture, are the first run of tenements on Somerville Drive. The ground is still a long way from its greatest extent in 1937, when it held almost 185,000 people. In 1903, with no facilities yet built for players, the teams would change in the very last ground floor flat you see. They would come out of the close, cross the road and walk down the terraces onto the pitch.
In truth, this is a work in progress. Covid has made all our plans difficult to hold on, to. Having been moved out of the Third Hampden, Queen’s Park have plans to turn Lesser Hampden into a cracking wee stadium. I have every confidence that it will be a welcoming place. With the restoration of the Clincart Farm building and the addition of offices, it is already looking good.