Hearts in 50 objects: No.32 – Main Stand plaque

The plaque was installed in 1914
The plaque was installed in 1914
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Pertinently, this plaque was made to honour the Hearts directors who helped fund and build Tynecastle’s main stand in 1914. Of course, that structure was only recently demolished to make way for its £12million replacement, due to open in September.

In 1914, the Hearts board commissioned the renowned stadium architect Archibald Leitch to design a modern main stand like so many others he had masterminded across Britain.

Leitch submitted his plans and it was estimated that the cost of the red brick and steel building would be £8,000. The principal contractors were Edinburgh companies, Redpath Brown Limited and J Duncan & Sons.

Two old stands and a pavilion were in place at Tynecastle at the time but they were removed to make space for Leitch’s creation. The club had £4,000 of the required money and decided to take instant action to raise the rest. They sold Percy Dawson to Blackburn Rovers for a then British record fee of £2,500.

However, a number of items were omitted from the first estimate of the stand, which meant that its cost increased to more than £12,000.

Chairman Elias Furst and his Hearts board of W Lorimer, W Burns, W Brown, W Drummond and J McCartney, scrambled the rest of the funds together.

The new main stand was partially opened on August 15 when Hearts beat Celtic 2-0 in the League before 18,000 fans. It was at that point that the club instructed a plaque to be placed on the outside wall giving details of the directors involved in the construction project.

When the stand was eventually completed in October that year, it was the most advanced in Scotland. However, the final cost was £12,178, which caused the Tynecastle board some real financial difficulties.

Once those hurdles were overcome, the stand lasted for 103 years until it was torn down just a few weeks ago.