HEARTS have put some of the most historic items in their history on show for the first time, as part of the newly-launched Tynecastle Stadium tour.
The new exhibition, housed near the boardroom at the ground, was officially opened yesterday by former striker John Robertson and Edinburgh Lord Provost Donald Wilson.
The tour, launched by the club in partnership with the Big Hearts Community Trust, will allow visitors access to the players’ tunnel, the manager’s office and the directors’ suite as well as the exhibition. Hearts historian David Speed and club statistician Bill Smith, among others, have worked on the exhibition for the past year, rescuing mementoes which had been scattered far and wide.
The club plans to continue gathering together significant artefacts from its past, and hopes in time to have an extensive record of its history, from the early years before its move to Tynecastle to the current period of ownership by Vladimir Romanov.
The exhibition already includes items such as trophies, accounts books and historic photographs and, with the centenary of the First World War coming up next year, it is particularly hoped that more material on that period can be found.
“This is a great project and we are proud to present the history of the 139-year-old club to all,” Big Hearts chief executive Alan White said.
“Never before has there been such unique access to this historic stadium, giving you the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the legends of Heart of Midlothian.”
Lord Provost Wilson, a councillor for the Sighthill/Gorgie ward which includes Tynecastle, made special mention of the club’s connection with the First World War, in which seven Hearts players were killed.
“Without doubt, the proudest and most tragic episode in Hearts’ history was the contribution and sacrifice that Hearts players and supporters made in the 16th Royal Scots Battalion under Sir George McCrae during the First World War, the centenary of which is fast approaching,” he said.
“There are, of course, many happier on-field memories that will, I’m sure, be remembered fondly by fans when they enjoy the many rarities, photographs and other unusual artefacts that make up this fantastic exhibition.”
Robertson, whose goalscoring exploits have earned him a big place in the club’s history, recalled a time from his playing days when he and team-mate David Bowman discovered some long-lost documents that are now included in the club’s archive.
“We were playing head tennis in the corridors in the early 1980s when Davie smashed the ball through one of the polystyrene tiles,” said Robertson.
“We got a replacement tile and when I was hoisted on to people’s shoulders to put it into place I noticed a secret door. We went into it and found all the minute books, trophies, pennants from European ties. There was even a league flag there.”
Tours will run on Thursdays and Fridays throughout the year. Bookings can be made by phoning 0131 200 7282.