Clydesdale Harriers: some posters

The handbills below were notice of and advertising for some of the club’s meetings.   They cover some of the first ever two day meetings at Dunoon, at Parkhead, at Meadowside (the Partick Thistle ground) and at Scotstoun for the cross-country handicap and 100 yards handicap.



Clydesdale Sports, Ibrox 1921

The link between the two old clubs was finally broken after the first great war.   The Harriers had lost so many men in the conflict – dozens of them – and the club was no longer a club battling for National Honours.  Money became a much bigger problem and the sports at Ibrox ended with this meeting on 18th June, 1921.   

And that was the programme.   There were not many internationalists among the competitors who were mainly domestic athletes, although the numbers were quite gratifying, but several among the officials.   The list of officials contained a young Dunky Wright who would move on in 1923 to join another club – there would be three more after he left Clydesdale Harriers before his career was over.   

The meeting itself was not a success however, and the attendance ‘did not exceed 3000’.   The Glasgow Herald report the following Monday read:

Even the extra attractions of an amateur boxing match, a pole vault, a sack race and handicaps for boys and youths in addition to all the standard events, failed to gain material support for the Clydesdale Harriers, the terracing at Ibrox being even barer than on the previous Saturday.   There were more spectators at the Ardrossan meeting but there, not one football tournament was produced  but two.   The harriers had no football, and the usual penalty for the omission was exacted by the public.   As a purely athletic programme, that offered by the oldest athletic club in the West of Scotland could hardly have been bettered, its only drawback being the absence of many of the better known athletes, but it is questionable if many more people would have attended had all the champions been competing.   Racing was fairly interesting throughout, a particularly fine finish being witnessed in the final of the 100 yards handicap.   The 20 heats were, however, somewhat tedious owing to the scarcity of short mark men.   The mile was won somewhat easily by M Anderson of Shettleston Harriers who, having 125 yards in a limit of 140, was not seriously troubled as the backmarkers by the large field, and in the furlong also, the winner, GT Stevenson of the same club, had a comparatively easy win.”

The Ardrossan meeting had been organised by the Ardrossan Shipyard Athletic Club and was, we are told, well supported by Glasgow athletic clubs – especially the West of Scotland Harriers.   It was a sad end to a series of good athletic meetings which had over the years presented some top quality athletics for the people of Scotland.


Clydesdale Sports: Clydeholm, 25 May, 1927

This programme is the first we have from after the ’14/’18 War where the club lost so many men.  Both secretaries killed (T Barrie Erskine in June 1915, Harold Servant in the troop ship returning from the war), other like Gabriel Brock wounded and died in hospital, Ralph Erskine died in an air incident in January, 1918 and so on.   In the words of George Dallas of Masryhill, Clydesdale Harriers went from a National Club to a Village Club.   The latter was a bit harsh but the diminution in status was clear to see.   The annual sports conti nued – to start with at Ibrox but then in Clydebank.   It was still a big meeting as the programme shows, with full fields in every event, and a wide rang of events too.


Clydesdale Sports: Dunoon, July 1905

Clydesdale Harriers pioneered many things in Scottish athletics: the two day meeting was one of them.  Their first venture was unfortunately cancelled because the track and grounds were not completed in time.   There was then a spat with West of Scotland Harriers who leapt in and organised a meeting at the completed ground by submitting a very rapid plan to the SAAA for the permit.   However the two day meeting at Dunoon became a real feature of Scottish athletics.   



Clydesdale Sports: Clydebank, June 1914

Clydesdale Harriers have been associated with Clydebank from the very beginning with members in the town since before the 20th century.   They started hosting sports meetings in there – described as a hotbed of professiona athletics – in the early 20th century and this programme is of the 1914 sports held there.   Many of the competitors listed died in the hostilities of the 1914-18 war.




Clydesdale Sports: Ibrox Park, 1909

The link between Clydesdale Harriers and the Rangers stemmed from the very beginning of the club.   Clydesdale appeared on the scene in May 1885 and many of their founding members were Rangers players and officials – that club dating from the end of 1872.   Many of the very best football clubs in the country were based on the south side of Glasgow – Queen’s Park, Third Lanark and Rangers being principal among them.   The Harriers trained initially at Kinning Park and then at Ibrox so it is not surprising that their sports were always held in the very beginning at the Rangers Ground.   This programme is from 1909.   Look at the adverts for a piece of social history, look at the endorsements of products by the sportsmen and ask your self if they were doing it out of the goodness of their heart, but most of all, look at the quality and number of athletes competing.




Clydesdale Sports: Celtic Park: 1906

The Clydesdale Harriers Sports were held at various times at Ibrox Park, Meadowside Park, Dunoon, Kilbowie Park and, of course since Willie and Tom Maley were club members, at Celtic Park.   The 1905 and 06 programme are interesting for a number of features:

The athletes were advertising – some were plugging Irn Bru, others were advocating Oxo.   

They were also the target of advertising – eg Nervtonine and Elliman’s as well as sports clothing.

The prizes were noted on the programme: eg in 1906, a 600 yards with Wyndham Halswell, WH Welsh, John McGough and many other top athletes had two flower pots for third, a silver ink and flower stand for second, and a gents leather fitted bag for first.   

The two timekeepers, A Ross Scott and A Hannah, were both timekeepers at the 1908 London Olympics and Ross Scott officiated at the infamous 400 metres race where the race was declared null and void because of the boring induged in by the American athlete at the expense of Halswell.

There were twenty four heats of the 100 yards







Clydesdale Harriers: Two Ibrox Meetings

The early connections between Clydesdale Harriers and the Rangers Football Club are well known.   The Harriers trained at Kinning Park and also at Ibrox until after the 1914/18 War.   Their club championships were also held there and they were quite remarkable affairs with very big numbers competing.   We are lucky that some copies of the events are still available and only two of them are reproduced here for general information.   The first is of a meeting in May 1914 and because of the numbers involved only two events were covered that day: the 100 yards and the half mile.   They were typed out on to foolscap paper which is a bit longer than A4 so the bottom line is missing from some of the sheets.   


Some scribbles on the outside of the programme – notes of prizes, etc with some details of the type, etc.   Below is a photograph of a rosebowl won by J Paterson of Maybole for winning the club one Mile handicap in 1918: I saw the bowl when I visited him in the 1980s’ when the rosebowl held pride of place in the front room.

Of course the Harriers individual members ran in the Rangers Sports too – witness the certificate below won by Charlie Middler for running in the Road Race in 1932 – he has another for the same race in 1933.

Note the signature at the bottom of the certificate.   There was another meeting later in the same year and 1914 was a significant year for the entire world.   Many of the men competing above would feature in the lists of wartime casualties – eg Thomas B Erskine would be killed in action in July 1915, his brother Ralph would die in January 1918, Gilbert Brock died in hospital after being injured in action, Harold B Servant would die on a troopship of ‘flu on the way home from the East in a troopship after the war was over.   By the time of the August meeting many Harriers had already enlisted.   

Charlie Middler’s certificate for the Road Race in 1933 –  

There wre also the Annual Sports Meetings: extracts from the 1907 programme: