stadium_name = Boothferry Park
location = Hull,
opened = 1946
surface = Grass
tenants = Hull City (1946-2002)
seating_capacity = 15,160
Boothferry Park was a football stadium in
Kingston upon Hull, and was home to the football club Hull City for over 50 years from 31 August 1946until December 2002, when they moved to the Kingston Communications Stadium. Kwik Saveand Iceland supermarkets form part of the stadium's structure. Parts of the ground were finally demolished in early 2008, more than five years after the last game was played there, though other parts remain due to the existence of the supermarkets.
The planning years
The ground was originally planned in 1929, and work began on the site from 1932 based near the River Humber. Financial difficulties severely hampered this development, with the playing area and part of the terracing appearing over the following 12 months before work and progress ground to a halt. A proposal in 1939 for a sports stadium on the site was the catalyst for further development, as even though this threw up doubt for the original stadium plans, no suitable financial offer for the land was forthcoming, and instead the Hull City board enquired after, and were granted, a Football Association loan to the sum of £6,600. This meant the new ground would be ready for the opening of the 1941 season.
The onset of
World War IIwas to again frustrate the development of the football ground, as during the war, the ground was used by the Home Guard, and was, for a period, used to repair tanks. This, not unexpectedly, had an adverse effect on the playing area - following the end of the war, the pitch was in very poor shape and prone to waterlogging.
Building materials were hard to come by in the postwar years for something as "frivolous" as a football stadium in the heavily-bombed city, this and the state of the pitch meant that the ground was still not in a usable state by the 1945/46 season, so the club was forced to return to playing its matches at one of its former homes, The Boulevard, the then home of
Hull F.C., one of the city's two the rugby league clubs.
The ground is opened and building continues
The ground was opened in August 1946, 17 years after its initial proposal, but only had planning permission for one stand along the west side with an upper cost limit of £17,000. The ground was still not fully completed and it became a race against time to make the stadium ready for its opening match against visiting Lincoln City. Twenty-thousand people gathered to watch the opening ceremony performed by the city's lord mayor. The teams were led onto the pitch by Sergeant JT "Tommy" Brooke riding a white horse. Sergeant Brooke was a detective and mounted officer in the Hull police and was a veteran of the first world war and the Battle of the Somme where he was a machine gunner with the Royal Horse Guards.
By 1948 the attendance record had swelled to 40,179 as the stadium hosted visitors Middlesbrough in the
FA Cup. The terracing embankments were raised and by February 1949 a ground and club record which still stands was hit - 55,019 turned out to watch Hull play Manchester United. Due to the overwhelming crowd, ferries had to be employed to take fans away from the ground as the streets near 'Fer Ark' became clogged. This gave the team one of their nicknames, The Ferrymen, which can be seen as a double entendre on Boothferry Park as well.
The locally famous Boothferry Halt opened in 1951. The ground now had its own railway station, its first use being a fixture against Everton when six trains ran the football service between Paragon Station, Hull's central railway station and Boothferry Park. At the same time, work proceeded on the covering of the North Stand.
The East Terrace was the next to be covered, albeit with a temporary structure. This temporary structure was never replaced, and stood throughout the years of the ground. With the three stands completed, the ground was now suited to a floodlight installation. Two gantries housing 96 lamps were built, one on the west and one opposite on the east following a licence being granted. Although this lighting system was the envy of many clubs, advancements in stadium lighting came rapidly, and the system soon needed replacement. A six pylon system replaced the old gantries in 1963.
The new lights were used for the first time in 1964, using 4 of the 6 available, in an evening match against Barnsley which ended in a 7-0 win for the Tigers.
In 1965 a new South Stand was built over the Bunker's Hill Terrace. The new two-tiered structure included a propped
cantileverroof, 2,500 seats in the upper tier and terracing for 4,000 more in the lower tier. The new stand was arguably the best stand at Boothferry Park, and a reminder of the golden days in the declining years to come.
Boothferry Park once hosted an FA Cup 2nd replay between Leeds United and Sunderland. on
20 March 1967over 40,000 fans attended and Leeds won 2–1. It was standard procedure in the pre penalty shoot-out days for 2nd and subsequent replays to be held on neutral grounds.
16 February 1972Boothferry Park hosted a full international match between Northern Ireland and Spain. The result was drawn at 1–1.
Boothferry Park was also the scene of a
rugby leagueinternational when it hosted the 1st ashestest of the 1982 Kangaroo Tourbetween Great Britainand Australia. The Aussies ran in 8 triesto nil in a 40-4 thrashing watched by a vocal crowd of 26,771.
Demolition of the ground eventually started on
10 January 2008and took nine weeks to complete. Now only the North Stand and the terracing on the South and East Stands remain along with the floodlights. [cite web
url = http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=136730&command=displayContent&sourceNode=136541&contentPK=19506642&folderPk=79656&pNodeId=243835
title = Soon all we'll have is ... memories
10 January 2008
accessdate = 2008-01-10
publisher = This is Hull and East Riding.co.uk] [cite web
url = http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=136730&command=displayContent&sourceNode=136541&contentPK=19670600&folderPk=79656&pNodeId=243835
title = Sun Sets On Boothferry's South Stand
26 January 2008
accessdate = 2008-01-28
publisher = This is Hull and East Riding.co.uk] [cite web
url = http://www.hull.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=95961
title = Boothferry Park - It's Coming Down
accessdate = 2008-02-28
10 January 2008
work = Vital Hull
publisher = Vitalfootball.co.uk]
The highest attendance before the new stand was built was 40,179 in 1948 when Hull City played Middlesbrough in the F.A Cup. 55,019 witnessed the visit of Manchester United when the height of the terracing was increased.
The stadium became affectionately known by supporters as "Fer Ark" in its later days, due to the lack of finances for maintenance (which also meant the scoreboard didn't actually show the score throughout the match), which meant that only those letters were illuminated on the large "boothFERry pARK" signage.
Another nickname is "Bothferry" - this came around when the second "o" fell off the stadium sign, as shown in the picture.
* [http://www.hullcityafc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/BoothferryPark/0,,10338,00.html History of Hull City Boothferry Park on official website]
* [http://www.worldstadia.com/stadium/england/boothferry_park/1877.php Boothferry Park on Worldstadia.com]
* [http://www.ewwa.net/boothferry Demolition photographs]
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