By Neville Gabie
Tuesday 01 Sep 2015 11:27:00
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In November 2013, Park Avenue football ground, a long-forgotten time capsule of Bradford’s social history, began to be unearthed when archaeologist Jason Wood and artist Neville Gabie conducted the first ever archaeological excavation of a football goalmouth and goalpost. This small intervention generated significant interest and was witnessed by people of all ages. Most had stories to tell; many also brought personal memorabilia and photographs to share. All displayed a passion for the former ground and a willingness to see it investigated and utilized to better effect.

Scrambling through the forest of trees that now occupy the terraces, where crowds in excess of 30,000 regularly stood to watch top flight football, people recounted games they had seen and relocated where they used to stand.

Surprisingly, the concrete terraces, crash barriers, turnstiles and even a toilet block survive.

The wealth of history associated with Bradford Park Avenue, the landmark design of the stadium by Archibald Leitch, and its relative intactness after more than 40 years of neglect, provides a perfect opportunity to develop a high-quality art and heritage project.

September 2015

Digging out the dug-outs

In September 2015, Jason Wood and Neville Gabie return to the site for a further week’s work. This year will involve excavations of other parts of the former football ground, including the dug outs, demonstrations of geophysical surveying techniques, and examination of objects and other historical memorabilia. Alongside the archaeologists will be several artists working in response to the discoveries, history and context of the football club.

Department of Archaeological Sciences, Bradford University will demonstrate their work on Friday 11th September as part of the National Science Festival.

National Heritage Open Days event on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th September, with guided walks around the site on both days.

Everyone is welcome to visit and please bring a story, object, photograph, or memory to share.

The team

Archaeology: Jason Wood, Rob Nichols

Sports Heritage: David Pendleton

Geophysics: Bradford University

Artists: Louise O’Reilly, Alan Ward, Oliver Palmer, Giorgio Garippa, Neville Gabie

Bradford PA terrace


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