Boothferry Park

Boothferry Park can trace its origins back to 1929 when the club acquired ground on the corner of Boothferry Road and North Road. Work began during the early part of the 1930s with help from a £3,000 loan from the Football Association, but progress was slow and work eventually halted. A further loan of £6,000 saw work re-commence with the aim of completion for the start of the season in 1940, but the outbreak of war saw development stall again. After the war things progressed. New ownership brought about new plans for the ground, including increasing the capacity to 80,000 (although this failed to materialise) and construction of a rail platform (Boothferry Park Halt).

Artist impression of the proposed, completed Boothferry Park from the match programme, 31 Aug 1946 [L. DSHC/5/1]

Of the 1400 fixtures staged at Boothferry Park, none were surpassed in terms of expectation and attendance as when Hull City hosted Manchester United in the FA Cup 6th Round on 26 February 1949. Such was the demand for tickets that the queue covered the entire car park and stretched down Boothferry Road. Also attempts were made to pass off counterfeit tickets, but almost all of these were intercepted at the turnstiles. To accommodate spectators a temporary stand was erected, while Bunkers Hill was strengthened and expanded. During its 56 year history it is said that over 14 million spectators have passed through its turnstiles.

The ground continued to be developed, most notably from the 1950s. The railway platform was completed in 1951 (the only ground in the country to have its own direct railway access) and work to upgrade the North Stand was completed. Floodlights were installed and work was also undertaken to re-develop the East Stand, although work on the stand was never fully implemented.

Despite this Boothferry Park was still considered one of the finest grounds in the north of England and went on to host international football matches and became a venue for rugby league finals. England under 23’s played their Swedish counterparts in 1970 while Northern Ireland played Spain in the 1972 European Championships (the History Centre has both match programmes for these games at L.796.334). Rugby league’s Yorkshire Cup and John Player trophy finals between Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers were played at the ground in 1984 and 1985 [L DSHFC/19/6 & L DSHFC/19/16].

The 1980s saw the last major redevelopment, most notably with the North Stand being demolished. It was these final 20 years or so that became arguably the most turbulent in the ground’s history. Hull City Football Club had fallen on hard times. Receivership and liquidation threatened. Financial constraints led to the club allowing Kwik Save and Iceland to embed themselves in to parts of the ground, and at one point the club was effectively locked out of the ground. But despite this, Boothferry Park still survived.

The club was bought and taken over under new ownership and it was this new era that was to signal the end of Boothferry Park. A new stadium was built and the last football match at Boothferry Park was played against Darlington on 14 December 2002 (the match programme for this is available at L DSHC/46/11). The ground, however, lay derelict for 6 years before work began to demolish it early in 2008. Today the site is occupied by new housing, but its history can be seen in its street names with Boothferry Park, Halt and Bunkers Hill linking the site to its former past.   

Taking it further:

If you wish to explore Boothferry Park’s history, the Hull History Centre holds a number of resources you can consult. Plans relating to the building and development of Boothferry Park together with photographs (including aerial photographs) are available and can be consulted in the search room.


Further Reading:

The Local Studies library holds a number of books on Hull City AFC and Boothferry Park of particular relevance are:

‘The End of an Era: the Story of Boothferry Park’ by Hull City AFC [Ref  L. 796.334]

‘Farewell to Boothferry Park’ by Mike Peterson [Ref  L. 796.334]

 

In addition you can find a full listing of Hull City AFC match day programmes spanning 1912 to present day can be searched using the online catalogue [L DSHC]. We are always grateful for donations to help us fill any gaps in our collection.