Valley Parade photos: rebuilding work 1986

Welcome to my blog where you will find features about the history of football in Bradford – in particular about Bradford City AFC – a number of which have been published in the BCAFC matchday programme.

The drop down menu above provides links to articles as well as sundry book reviews. I am also uploading an irregular series of online albums recording various themes, typically archive photographs (the majority of which taken by myself) or Bradford City and Bradford Park Avenue memorabilia from my own collection.

These photographs feature the rebuilding of Valley Parade after the fire tragedy in 1985. The first image is an aerial photo of the ground in the aftermath of the fire and then the service of remembrance on 21 July, 1985 before rebuilding took place.


The demolition of the ground proceeded apace during 1986 after new funding was confirmed. Two particular photos are of note. The first which shows the remains of the ferro-concrete foundations of the original Midland Road stand, 1908-1950 and evidence of the old Bradford rivalry in the graffiti on the back of the then Midland Road shed.

The other photo to highlight focuses on the site off South Parade where the old Main Stand had stood. This shows the slope afforded by the topography that provided an excellent vantage for spectators. It was this that made the ground a cost-effective, economical option for the former Manningham FC that played rugby at Valley Parade between 1886-1903 (full details of the origins and history of the ground is narrated in my book, ROOM AT THE TOP). The slope provided a ready made terrace (and Bowling FC similarly exploited a railway embankment to create a crude terrace at its Usher Street ground in the nineteenth century).


The new Valley Parade was reopened in December, 1986 with a fixture between Bradford City and an England XI. The aerial photo from that time confirms that the only surviving structure at the ground is the dressing rooms/office complex in the south west corner that dates from 1960.


Valley Parade 1986

Further albums will be uploaded in due course and the drop down menu *Archive Images* will provide links. News of updates will be tweeted: @jpdewhirst

John Dewhirst

I have written widely about the history of sport in Bradford – Links here to my online articles – and I am involved with the VINCIT online journal that covers the history of Bradford sport with articles written by a number of enthusiasts: