Home Secretary’s Statement on Football Grounds: Fire and Disturbances – 13th May 1985

Home Secretary's Statement Page 1Following the Bradford City Fire, the then Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, made a statement to the House of Commons. An excerpt from the statement is detailed below, the full statement can be read by clicking on the PDF link at the bottom of this post. The statement covers both the Bradford City Fire and the riots at Birmingham City that happened on the same day.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement.

The entire nation has been horrified and appalled at the terrible tragedy at Bradford City football ground on Saturday. I know that the whole House will wish to join together in expressing our deepest sympathy for the families and friends of the dead and the many who were injured, some of whom remain critically ill.

The fire started just before half-time, at about 3.35pm, under the floor at one end of the main stand.

The stand was an old one made of metal and timber with a bitumen and felt roof, and the fire spread extremely rapidly. There were about 3,000 people in the stand. The majority managed to move down onto the pitch; but a number tried to escape through the exits at the rear and found themselves trapped in a narrow alley between the back of the stand and the wall of the ground. In accordance with long established practice at sports grounds, the gates were locked to prevent unauthorised spectators gaining admission. It was here that many people died.

To read the rest of the statement by the then Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, please click this link: Home Secretary’s Statement