Opening of the Original Wembley Stadium in London, England

Opening of the Original Wembley Stadium

The original Wembley Stadium, also known as the Empire Stadium, was an iconic sports and entertainment venue in London, England. The stadium hosted numerous historic events, including the 1948 Summer Olympics and the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final. Its opening in 1923 marked the beginning of an era in British sports and pop culture, making it a beloved symbol of national pride.

  • The original Wembley Stadium was officially opened on April 28, 1923.
  • Construction: Construction of the stadium began in 1922 under the direction of architects Sir John Simpson and Maxwell Ayrton. The stadium was built as part of the British Empire Exhibition, a major event designed to showcase the country’s achievements and foster a sense of national pride.
  • White Horse Final: The opening of Wembley Stadium coincided with the 1923 FA Cup Final between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United, a match famously known as the “White Horse Final.” This nickname was coined after a mounted police officer, PC George Scorey, and his white horse, Billy, helped control the massive crowds that flooded the pitch before the match. Bolton Wanderers won the game 2-0.
  • Capacity and Features: At its opening, Wembley Stadium had a seating capacity of approximately 127,000 spectators. It featured a distinctive twin-tower design that became an iconic symbol of the stadium and a 39-step staircase that led to the Royal Box, where winners would receive their awards.
  • Notable Events: Wembley Stadium hosted numerous significant events throughout its history, including:
    • The 1948 Summer Olympics
    • The 1966 FIFA World Cup Final, where England famously defeated West Germany 4-2
    • Concerts by popular music acts like Queen, Michael Jackson, and The Rolling Stones.
  • Closure and Demolition: The original Wembley Stadium closed in October 2000, and demolition began in 2002 to make way for the new Wembley Stadium, which opened in 2007.
  • Effects on Pop Culture: Wembley Stadium became synonymous with major sporting events, concerts, and national pride. Its iconic status made it a symbol of British sports and entertainment, and the phrase “Wembley! Wembley!” became a chant associated with success and ambition.

In summary, the original Wembley Stadium, which opened in 1923, played a significant role in British sports and pop culture for decades. As the venue for historical events like the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final and concerts by legendary music acts, the stadium became an enduring symbol of national pride and ambition.