Sheffield 1878: The World’s First Floodlit Football Match
This is a photo of a commemorative coin I own that is part of a series that was produced to commemorate the Euro 96 Championships held in England. It depicts the first ever floodlit football match in the World held at Bramall Lane, Sheffield on 14th October 1878.
The Sheffeld Telegraph reporting the event wrote, “There was an overwhelming interest in the experiment, and excursionists arrived in large numbers from distant grounds. Between six and seven o’clock, it seemed as if all Sheffield was heading for Bramall Lane. The streets were thronged from all directions. At the game curiosity conquered customary courtesy, and the few who were really interested in the play were obliged to give way to the many who had eyes only for the new lights. Many of the ladies, once within the rays, shot up umbrellas as they would parasols to shield them from the sun at mid-day!”
(Sheffield Football: A History, Volume 1)
The official crowd of 12000 paid receipts totalling £300 which at the time was a large amount of money which delighted the committee who operated the Bramall Lane ground. However many spectators got in for free by climbing over the perimeter walls & some estimates have the attendance as high as 20000. This was for the times a huge crowd for a football match. In comparision the Scotland v England fixture held in March of 1878 at Hampden had an attendance of 10000 whilst England didn’t muster a crowd of 12000 plus for a home international match until 1887.
The purpose of the game was to showcase a new form of electric lighting in the hope that industrialists would use it to illuminate railway yards & other large works sites.
As for the match itself it was contested by The Reds & The Blues, each team being made up of representatives from local Sheffield football clubs. The Blues ran out 2-0 winners.