Hearts in 50 objects: No.46 – Tynecastle attendance book

The book has been kept in the Hearts' archives
The book has been kept in the Hearts' archives
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An old Tynecastle attendance book from the days when crowds were noted and stored in basic hand-written form.

This one has been stored in the club archives for decades and contains details of a number of impressive attendances. The one which stands out most is the 53,396 people who watched a match against Rangers in February 1932.

The game brought in 2170 old pounds and ten shillings in gate money, which would have given the Hearts board a considerable boost at the time. You can see hand-written amounts of cash throughout the book as a record of monies collected.

Back in those days, football’s popularity was growing across the world but nowhere was it more evident than in Britain. Scottish grounds occasionally hosted six-figure attendances for big matches, such as cup finals and Scotland’s international matches against England.

Hearts’ crowds were more modest than that but attracting more than 50,000 people to Tynecastle for any match was still a significant achievement.

Other than the main stand, Tynecastle was an all-standing venue back then which made it much easier to cope with larger numbers. The introduction of strict health and safety regulations and the demand for all-seated stadia meant a gradual reduction in capacity down the years.

This was stuck at just more than 17,000 since the mid-1990s, however that figure will increase later this year when Hearts open their new main stand as part of the £12million redevelopment of Tynecastle Park. It will push capacity up beyond the 20,000 mark and finish the rebuilding of the ground.

No longer are crowds recorded manually. Nowadays, attendances are stored on computer and the majority of Hearts home matches are all-ticket affairs. That means money is processed centrally through the club’s ticket office.