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Papers of the Popplewell Inquiry into Crowd Safety at Sports Grounds

Archive reference: POP

On 11 May 1985, 56 people were killed and hundreds injured in a terrible fire at Valley Parade, the Bradford City football stadium. A Committee of Inquiry chaired by Sir Oliver Popplewell was set up under the Safety at Sports Grounds Act to investigate the causes and find ways to improve safety. The Inquiry also considered the tragedies at Birmingham City and the Heysel stadium. In Memory of the 56: the Papers of the Popplewell Inquiry. No. 84 in our 100 Objects series.

The Papers are the submissions and evidence gathered by the Committee from many sources, including the Fire Brigade, police, football clubs, other sports facilities, and the press. This archive was donated by Sir Oliver Popplewell in 1999.

How to access the Inquiry reports

The Committee produced two reports, which remain essential reading for anyone concerned with crowd safety:

  • Interim Report, July 1985. Command paper Cmnd 9585. This report contains most detail about the Bradford tragedy.
  • Final Report, 1986. Command paper Cmnd 9710. Includes Heysel.

You don't need to visit Special Collections to read the reports. They are UK government publications. Bradford University staff and students can find them in the British Government Publications collection. We recommend students from other universities contact their own university library for advice. It may be possible to get access from legal deposit, public and academic libraries or by inter-library loan, or on electronic databases, if your library subscribes. Versions scanned by individuals can be found online, though we can't vouch for the copyright situation of these. We are not currently aware that the reports are available online via any official route.

If you require this information in an alternative format, please contact our team. You can also read our Website Accessibility Statement.