HC Deb 04 March 1926 vol 192 cc1590-1
17 and 18. Mr. DENNISON

asked the Home Secretary (1) if he is aware of the large number of ambulance cases dealt with at the Highbury football ground on the 24th February; and if he will take steps to ensure better regulation of the traffic and the safety of the spectators at football matches;

(2) if he is aware that the authorities of the Highbury football ground continued to take entrance money from the public on the 24th February, whilst at the same time the ground was so overcrowded that the exit gates were opened to allow hundreds of persons to get away; and will he take steps to prevent such an occurrence?


I will answer these questions together. About 55,000 persons entered the ground, which has a capacity of 70,000. About 100 ambulance cases were dealt with, but with one exception they were all quite slight, and were mostly cases of fainting. The police report that the traffic arrangements worked smoothly, and no street accident was reported. It is true that about 100 persons left the ground by gates which were specially opened for them, because they found themselves in positions where they could not see the game. But this does not appear to have been due to the ground being overcrowded as a whole. I do not think the occasion suggests the need of any action on my part.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the authorities allowed persons to enter and to pay for admission to the ground at the turnstiles at the time when the gates were open to allow those who were in to go out, and actually those who paid for admission were passing through the turn- stiles in order to be put out by a backway through the exits? Is there any means by which they can get their money back?


As far as the last point is concerned, that is not a matter for the Home Office. The people concerned might apply to the County Court.


In view of the fact that this is not an isolated case, but one of many occurrences of the kind, and in view of the great demand for seats at the forthcoming Cup Final, will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to see that on all future occasions some action is taken different from that taken in the past?


I am always anxious to assist football and other sports, but I do not know what power I have in these cases, when so many thousands of people desire to see a match. I have no jurisdiction over the accommodation.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of certain occurrences in Edinburgh at a similar gathering of a football crowd? Will he have inquiry made to see if any steps can be taken?


The hon. Member must give notice of that question.