Ground Opened: 1895
Ground Closed: 1997
Number of years at ground: 102
First Competitive Game Played: Bolton Wanderers 3 Everton 1 Division One 14th September 1895. Attendance 15,000.
Last Competitive Game Played: Bolton Wanderers 4 Charlton Athletic 1 Division One 25th April 1997. Attendance 21,880.
Record Attendance: 69,912 v Manchester City, FA Cup 5th Round, 18th February 1933.
Floodlights first used: 14 October 1957 in a friendly against Heart of Midlothian.
Club moved to: The Reebok Stadium in 1997.
Distance from Burnden Park to new stadium: 8 miles.
The stand was originally built in 1904, with an additional wing being added to the Southern End (towards the Great Lever Terrace) in 1915. The stand had a small paddock to its front, with a larger raised seating area behind. The stand housed the dressing rooms, team tunnel and above, it had a 'pigeon loft' type gantry on its roof.
This stand as well as the ground itself, takes its name from the local Burnden area of Bolton. Built in 1928, it had a large terraced paddock area at the front, with over 2,500 seats installed in a raised area at the back.
Named after the local Great Lever area of Bolton, this terrace was built and covered in 1905. It was built by local Bolton company John Booth (whose sign you can see in the photo below, on top of the roof of the stand). This company also built the Manchester Road (Main Stand) as well as erecting most of the steelwork for the then new Wembley Stadium in 1923. In 1979 the stand had over 4,000 seats installed on the existing terrace.
The Railway End gained its name from the railway line that used run across the embankment at the back of the terrace. In a scene from the 1950's comedy film Love Match, the football mad locomotive driver played by Arthur Askey, is seen stopping his train so he can watch the match being played on Burnden Park below. The Railway End was also the area of the Burnden Park Disaster in 1946, where 33 fans perished (see below).
In 1986 the Club sold off half the terrace, which was then redeveloped as a retail superstore. This spoilt the overall look of the ground, as a large brick building was now present in one corner (see main gallery of Burnden Park photos above). In its latter years it was used to house the away fans, who apart from the terrace were also given a portion of seating in the Burnden Stand.
On 9th March 1946, 33 people lost their lives and hundreds were injured in what became known as the Burnden Park Disaster. An FA Cup Quarter Final was taking place between Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City, when early in the first half, a couple of barriers collapsed in the Railway End at the ground, resulting in many people being crushed. The ground had become very over crowded with many fans climbing into the ground and over turnstiles. It was estimated that the crowd was in excess of 85,000. Amazingly by today's standards, after a stoppage of half an hour, the game was restarted, with the dead laid beside the pitch covered in coats. Below watch a short documentary about that fateful day.
In 1901 Burnden Park staged the replay of the FA Cup Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United. Although over 110,000 had watched the first game played at Crystal Palace, just over 20,000 showed up for this match. This was to be the lowest attendance of any FA Cup Final, since the turn of the 20th century. It had not been helped by the unavailability of supporters trains for the game. (For the record Tottenham won the game 3-1).
During 1953 Burnden Park was the painting subject of the famous artist; L S Lowry, which was called 'Going To The Match'. It shows part of the rear of the Manchester Road (Main Stand):
(Above image courtesy of The Lowry website, where prints of this can be purchased).
The original painting a was sold at auction in 1999, for £1.9m. It was bought by the Professional Footballers Association, who then lent it out to the Lowry Centre in Salford (close to Old Trafford) where it is still on display today. The picture was originally entitled 'Football Ground' before being renamed 'Going To the Match'.
Two years after the stadium was demolished in 1997, work began on the construction of a Retail Shopping Park, including a large Asda store:
Alas there is nothing notable to see of the former football ground, although the Asda store does have a number of images in-store of the ground and games played there.
If you possess photos of the old Burnden Park ground, which you would be happy to share with others via this website, or if you have any general feedback about this page, then please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that I can only accept photos where you have either taken the photos yourself, or where you have the permission of the photographer, for them to appear on this website.
Special thanks to Dave Couseins and Han van Eijden for providing the Burnden Park Bolton photos for this page.
Thanks to W Gibson for sharing this with us his old cinefilm video of Burnden Park which he took in 1979 and is now available on YouTube.
The 'Farewell To Burnden Park' was produced by Steve Hewitt and made publicly available via YouTube.