Burnden Park Disaster
9th March 1946
60 Years on
the 9th March 1946, Stoke City travelled to Burnden Park the then home of
Bolton Wanders for the second leg of an F.A. Cup 6th round tie.
A huge crowd was expected that day and it's not difficult to understand
why. Football in general was beginning to experience a massive upsurge in
attendances due to the promise of better times ahead following the war
years, added to which Bolton had surprisingly won the first match at the
Victoria Ground and the promise of a semi final place beckoned. Despite
the ground having reduced capacity, the game was not all ticket, as
ticketed games where extremely unpopular at the time, and lastly was the
promise that the Stoke team would include Stanley Matthews, a player of
such renown it was said could add a minimum of 7, 000 to any attendance.
highest recorded attendance at Burnden Park had been 69,912 in 1933/4, in
1945/6 the highest had been 43,000.By kick-off time of the Stoke game the
turnstile count had reached 65,000,the official attendance being given as
65,419.However, it was estimated a minimum 2,000 gained illegal entry,
with a further 15,000 turned away.
estimates and sources place the actual numbers on the ground as high as
between 85,000 and 90,000.
further complicated as several turnstiles had been made unusable, as the
Burnden Stand, which normally held 2,789 had been requisitioned by the
Ministry of Supply and had not yet been returned to normal use, with the
result that the 28,000+ on the Railway embankment had to enter from the
Manchester Road ( West End). In addition ticket holders in the Burnden
Paddock were also admitted through entrances in this area and then
escorted around the pitch to their places, resulting in a huge build up in
the North West corner.
At 2:40 the
turnstiles were closed, though spectators continued to gain access to the
embankment terrace via one of three methods, some simply climbed over
turnstiles and walls, others via the railway line that ran along the top
of the embankment then by breaking down sections of fencing and thirdly
when a father and son wanting to escape the developing crush picked the
padlock off an exit gate, with the result that more spectators poured
through the open exit gate. With ten minutes to go before kick-off an
estimated 1,000 spectators gained entry by climbing over the boys entrance
whilst others climbed on top of a stationary train to view the game.
before 3:00 pm as the two teams came out, uncontrollable swaying and
crushing took place in the North West corner leading to two barriers
collapsing under the weight and pressure exerted by the crowd. Initially
the crowd surged forward, then sunk and in the crushing that followed 33
supporters lost their lives and an estimated 400+ injured.
continued for twelve minutes, as hundreds of spectators spilled onto the
track surrounding the pitch, before eventually the seriousness of the
situation was realised and the players were taken from the pitch.
at 3:25PM, after several thousand spectators were moved from the
embankment to the Burnden Stand. The game continued without further
incident, the result ,which later seems almost immaterial, was a 0-0 draw
and Bolton it was who went through to the semi final of the cup.
headed by Justice R Moelwyn Hughes was ordered by the then Home Secretary
James Chuter Ede and opened on the 22nd March 1946 and formally presented
on the 25th May 1946.
This page is
dedicated to the 33 supporters who so tragically lost their lives and to
the many hundreds who were injured .
WILFRED ADDISON Moss Side, Manchester.
WILFRED ALLISON (19) Leigh.
FRED BATTERSBY (31) Atherton.
JAMES BATTERSBY (33) Atherton.
ROBERT BENTHAM (33) Atherton.
HENRY BIMSON (59) Leigh.
HENRY RATCLIFFE BIRTWISTLE (14) Blackburn.
JOHN T BLACKSHAW Rochdale.
W BRAIDWOOD (40) Hindley.
FRED CAMPBELL (33) Bolton.
FRED PRICE DEARDEN (67) Bolton.
WILLIAM EVANS (33) Leigh.
WINSTON FINCH Hazel Grove, Stockport.
JOHN FLINDERS (32) Littleborough.
ALBERT EDWARD HANRAHAN Winton, Eccles.
EMILY HOSKINSON (40) Bolton.
WILLIAM HUGHES (56) Poolstock, Wigan.
FRANK JUBB Rochdale.
JOHN LIVESEY (37) Bamber Bridge, Preston.
JOHN THOMAS LUCAS (35) Leigh.
HAROLD MCANDREW Wigan.
WILLIAM MCKENZIE Bury.
MORGAN MOONEY (32) Bolton.
HARRY NEEDHAM (30) Bolton.
DAVID PEARSON Rochdale.
JOSEPH PLATT (43) Bolton.
SIDNEY POTTER (36) Tyldesley.
GRENVILLE ROBERTS Ashton-in-Makerfield.
RICHARD ROBEY (35) Barnoldswick.
THOMAS ROBEY (65) Billinge, Wigan.
T SMITH (65) Rochdale.
WALTER WILMOT (31) Bolton.
JAMES WILSON Higher Openshaw, Manchester