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Gates listed at Memorial Stadium in Bristol

January 4 2011

The Gala Pool at Marshall Street Sue Hudson

Photos © Groundtastic Magazine

The Memorial Stadium in Bristol, home of both Bristol Rovers FC and Bristol Rugby Club, has become only the second ground in senior English football to have one of its structures listed, following the decision last month to grant a Grade II listing to a gateway erected in memory to those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars.

This follows a graffiti attack on the gates last July, by vandals purporting to be supporters of Rovers' main rivals, Bristol City.

The gates forms the entrance to the stadium in Filton Avenue and date from the venue's opening in September 1921 by the Mayor of Bristol, George Britton. One of several such memorial grounds built around the country during the aftermath of the First World War, for many years it was home solely to Bristol Rugby Club, until in 1996 Bristol Rovers moved in as tenants. Two years later the roles were reversed, with the football club taking over as the ground's owners and the rugby club becoming the tenants.

The listed gateway consists of five gate posts in Bath stone, with two double and two single gates. The central pier has two stone plaques, the top one of which reads: '1914-1918 - in proud and grateful memory of the services rendered to their country in the Great War, by rugby football players of Bristol. This ground was established 1921.'

The lower plaque reads: '1939-1945 - and in the World War of 1939-45, the rugby football players of this city gave their services and their lives. To them also this ground is a memorial.'

A memorial service continues to be held at the gates on each Armistice Day.

Until this listing, the only other listed structures to be found at a senior level in English football were at Fulham's Craven Cottage, where the Stevenage Road Stand (since renamed the Johnny Haynes Stand) and its adjoining turnstile blocks, and the corner offices and pavilion (known as the Cottage), both designed by Archibald Leitch, were listed Grade II in March 1987.

Although stands in non-League football and at various racecourses have also been listed, the only other listed structures where senior football has been played were the twin towers at Wembley Stadium, demolished in 2003.

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