Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

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Boris57
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Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

Post by Boris57 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:57 pm

Edinburgh University & Spartans Football Clubs used to share a ground called Canal Field prior to the mid-1970's when Edinburgh Uni moved to Peffermill & Spartans to City Park. I'm trying to track down where Canal Field was but I'm not having a lot of luck on the map front & I've got some conflicting info indicating it was either in Corstorphine or up Meggetland way. Certainly I have Edinburgh Uni playing in the Corstorphine area in the late 1880's but match reports of the time only state "Corstorphine" rather than name a ground.

Does any one have any idea what part of Edinburgh Canal Field was in?

bluedragon
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Re: Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

Post by bluedragon » Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:56 pm

Canal Fields was at Meggetland, next door to Boroughmuir RFC and just off Colinton Road. I think it was built on in the mid-1980's. Spartans left Canal Fields for City Park in 1975.

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Re: Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

Post by ScottishFA » Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:17 am

Strangely enough, I once went to a game at Canal Field. I had to look it up but it was Spartans v Hawick Royal Albert in April 1977.

This is slightly surprising as Spartans became SFA members in 1976 because they could claim an enclosed ground, ie City Park, but presumably they continued to play some games on the old ground for a while.

As to exact location, it was on the old Edinburgh University Athletic Ground, next to the Canal. As you go over the bridge to Meggetland from Colinton Road, it was immediately on the right where North Meggetland houses now are.

There are old Ordnance Survey maps on the NLS website which are helpful, although they don't actually mark where the pitch was.

The story of the University ground in Corstorphine is in the centenary history of the EUAC. It was a windswept field near Corstorphine railway station (nothing more accurate than that!) which was acquired in 1876 and they stayed there until 1896 when the Uni bought 13 acres at Craiglockhart where they remained until 1979. The extension at Canal Field was bought in 1920 and was sold for housing in 1985.

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Re: Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

Post by bluedragon » Thu Nov 19, 2015 11:25 am

Interesting stuff Andy and thanks for correcting my plural to singular - Canal Field.

I have had a look at the Britain from Above website but unfortunately the only photographs are of part of the Meggetland playing fields.

I know that there was a football ground at Pinkhill - the next station to Corstorphine on the old branch line. Brian McColl's list of clubs shows that this was played on by Civil Service Strollers from 1925 to 1928 before being taken over by Murrayfield Amateurs until the 1950's. However, that may have been a different ground from where the University played.

I assume that the sale of Canal Field partly paid for the new pavilion/stand/changing rooms/artificial pitches at Peffermill in around the mid-1980's.

The current University football ground at the east end of Peffermill is now fully enclosed (both the pitch from the spectators and ground from the rest of the playing fields) with floodlights, spectator entrance and car parking, small seated stand and practice area behind one goal.

Boris57
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Re: Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

Post by Boris57 » Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:07 pm

Pefect lads. Both replies much appreciated & they answer my query. I was just doing a bit of research yesterday as regards grounds Spartans have played on for the match programme when their 2nd XI are due to play Leith Athletic in the EoS Lge. All I had was the name "Canal Field" (prior to City Park) & that didn't seem to tie in with very old match reports I have of Edinburgh Uni playing Leith in the late 1800s at Corstorphine. The reference to "Pinkhill" makes sense too as I have seen it referred to in old reports on Leith games.

Good point Andy re the use of City Park to enable Scottish Cup participation which is possibly why although they were SFA members from 1976 their first entry into the Scottish Cup was 1978/79.

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Re: Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

Post by ScottishFA » Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:15 pm

Boris57 wrote:Good point Andy re the use of City Park to enable Scottish Cup participation which is possibly why although they were SFA members from 1976 their first entry into the Scottish Cup was 1978/79.
Spartans entered the Scottish Qualifying Cup from 1976/77 but didn't reach the Scottish Cup until the third attempt.

As for Pinkhill Park, it stood on the site of what is now the Forestry Commission offices, opposite Edinburgh Zoo.

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Re: Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

Post by bluedragon » Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:35 pm

ScottishFA wrote:As for Pinkhill Park, it stood on the site of what is now the Forestry Commission offices, opposite Edinburgh Zoo.
Thanks Andy. I have now found a photograph from the Britain from Above website (Image Number SPW027333 dated 1929) that shows in that area what looks like a sports ground sitting next to the railway line and with housing between it and the main road on the other side of the road from the Zoo. Edinburgh University played rugby in "Corstorphine" and when they moved out Royal High took over the lease. I have tried, without success, to find a more accurate location.

Boris57
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Re: Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

Post by Boris57 » Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:59 pm

I think there's a book in there on long-gone Edinburgh grounds where senior football was once played. Andy, over to you for your next project now you've finished the Dunblane FC book!!!

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Re: Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

Post by Alan McCabe » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:08 am

Canal Field is clearly shown on a couple of pictures on Britain From Above.

SAW032860
This shows three pitches, the top of which I think was the ground used for SC ties by Edinburgh University.

SAW032857
This shows two pitches with the canal clearly visible at the back of the pitches.

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Re: Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

Post by HibeeJibee » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:20 am

I think I'm right in saying that the original university recreation ground was on the site of the current Scottish Parliament, prior to it becoming a gasworks then brewery?

I'm sure I've seen it as marked as that on an old map, although I'm not 100%. Presumably it was originally used for cricket.

In the centre of the historic East of Scotland Shield, the footballing scene - knickerbockers, caps and all - is taking place on this ground with the Salisbury Crags behind.

Possibly someone can confirm.

prorege
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Re: Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

Post by prorege » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:23 am

I believe that the University ground at Corstorphine was what is now called Union Park, currently home to Royal High Corstorphine Rugby and Cricket clubs.

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Re: Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

Post by ScottishFA » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:55 am

HibeeJibee wrote:I think I'm right in saying that the original university recreation ground was on the site of the current Scottish Parliament, prior to it becoming a gasworks then brewery?
No, the university sports club didn't own a ground before Corstorphine. The ground at the Parliament belonged to the Royal High School, and you can see the exact location here: http://maps.nls.uk/view/74415764

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Re: Edinburgh University FC & Spartans FC - Old Ground

Post by bluedragon » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:25 am

prorege wrote:I believe that the University ground at Corstorphine was what is now called Union Park, currently home to Royal High Corstorphine Rugby and Cricket clubs.
Thanks for that. I was looking much closer to the former Corstorphine railway station but Union Park is certainly “a windswept field”. I suppose the clue is the “Union” in “Union Park”? Obvious now!

Here are the results of some more checking.

Union Park has been used for athletics, cricket and both football codes since 1875 (or 1876?) when Edinburgh University took up a lease. The University association footballers first played at Union Park in 1877. The University continued as tenants until 1896. The Royal High School FP club took over the lease in 1897 and remained there until 1920 when they moved to Jock's Lodge.

Union Park was acquired by the city in 1924.

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