Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Originally known as the Empire Stadium, it was built for the British Empire Exhibition of 1924, on the former site of Watkins' Tower. Sir John Simpson and Maxwell Ayerton were the architects and Sir Owen Williams was the Head Engineer. The stadium's distinctive Twin Towers became its trademark. Also well-known were the thirty nine steps needed to be climbed to reach the Royal box and collect a trophy (and winners/losers medals).
The first event held at the stadium was the FA Cup final of 1923 between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United. This is known as the White horse final . Despite the official maximum capacity of 100,000, the attendance was quoted as 126,947 but up to 200,000 people are thought to have squeezed in. It was thought that the match would be postponed until Police Constable George Scorey and his white horse, Billie, slowly pushed the masses back to the sides of the field of play for the FA Cup Final to start.
In all, it has hosted 5 European Cup finals, including the 1963 final between AC Milan and Benfica, and the 1968 final between Manchester United and Benfica. In 1971 it again hosted the final, between Ajax and Panathinaikos, and once more in 1978, this time between Liverpool and Club Brugge. The last such occasion was in 1992, when FC Barcelona played Sampdoria. The FA is bidding for the redeveloped Wembley to host the 2007 final.
Of Wembley Stadium, Pelé said "Wembley is the church of football. It is the capital of football and it is the heart of football" in recognition of its status as world's most well-known football stadium.
Rugby League held its Challenge Cup final at Wembley from 1929 onwards, an event often seen as a big day out for a sport whose heartland is in the north of England. The stadium was also regularly used by the sport for major international matches, such as Great Britain versus Australia. The first Ashes test of 1994 is particularly well remembered by rugby league supporters.
The National Football League held several preseason football games at Wembley during the 1980s and 1990s, and the London Monarchs of the World League of American Football played at the venue in 1991 and 1992. Wembley hosted the inaugural World Bowl where the Monarchs defeated the Barcelona Dragons 21-0.
Wembley Stadium became a musical venue in 1972 with an all-star rock 'n' roll concert. The British leg of Live Aid was held there in 1985. The band Queen held a huge concert in 1986 and the Freddie Mercury Tribute was also held there in 1992. The Nelson Mandela tribute concert was performed in 1988.
The stadium closed in 2000 for redevelopment, but a string of financial and political difficulties delayed the work for over two years. The new National Stadium is currently under construction, at a 2003 estimated cost of £757 million, and is now scheduled to open May 13, 2006 with that year's FA Cup Final. The new design is for an all-seated capacity of 90,000 protected from the elements by a sliding roof. The stadium's signature feature will be a circular section 7 metre internal diameter steelwork lattice arch with a 315 metre span, erected some 22° off true, and rising to 133 metre tall. The arch was raised for the first time during construction of the Stadium in June 2004.
- Construction web cam
- Wembley National Stadium
- Guardian newspaper History of Wembley
- Brent Council development plans
- Wembley trivia
- Virtual tour
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