In Pictures: 100 Years Of Wembley Stadium

By Londonist Last edited 14 months ago

Last Updated 11 April 2023

In Pictures: 100 Years Of Wembley Stadium

Wembley Stadium is 100 years old in 2023. Well, at least, Wembley has had a stadium since 1923 — the famous twin-towered original was replaced in 2007. To mark the centenary, Getty has delved into its picture archives, pulling out a selection of arresting images from Wembley's history.

Captions by Paul Prowse, Senior Photo Editor at the Getty Images Archive.

A postcard depicting the then new Wembley stadium in 1924
A postcard depicting the then new Wembley Stadium, hosting the British Empire Exhibition in 1924. Image: public domain
Crowds of people in flat caps on the pitch behind the goal posts
FA Cup Final 1923 - Bolton Wanderers v West Ham United. "Wembley Stadium was completed - at a cost of £750,000 - just five days before the first event was held there, the FA Cup Final between Bolton Wanderers & West Ham United. But the first match was not an all-ticket affair, which led to reported crowds of between 250,000 and 300,000 in a stadium with an official capacity of 125,000. Now known as the 'White Horse' final, it's an image of Billy the Police horse that is often used to define that day, but this image of crowds being pushed back off the playing area goes some way to illustrating the sheer volume of people." Image credit: Bob Thomas/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images
Women runners crossing a finish line
2 August 1948: "Fanny Blankers-Koen pictured crossing the line after taking gold in the women's 100m final at the 1948 Olympic Games, the first gold medal of her record breaking four — the others were for the 200m, 80m hurdles and 4 x 100 relay. The 1948 Olympic Games became widely known as the Austerity Games due to the difficult post war economic situation, taking place whilst the country was still under rationing restrictions. Given these conditions nothing new was built and Wembley Stadium, in addition to hosting the track and field events, was also the venue for football, equestrian and field hockey competitions, with the nearby Empire Pool (now Wembley Arena) hosting the swimming, diving, boxing and more." Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Henry Cooper Vs Muhammad Ali, June 1963" "Getty Images' archives are filled with those tantalising moments where the photographer and the camera take us somewhere we'd never have been able to go. A general view over the stadium clearly showing the newly installed aluminium roof which encircled the stadium after 1963. In the centre is pictured the ring for the first of two bouts Henry Cooper fought with Muhammad Ali. Whilst Cooper lost both — this one prior to Ali becoming World Champion, the other during a championship bout in 1966 — their Wembley meeting in 1963 is remembered for being one of only four times that an opponent put Ali on the canvas in his career." Image credit: Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images
Captain Bobby Moore holds the Jules Rimet trophy aloft following England's 4-2 victory against West Germany in the the World Cup Final at Wembley. "Throughout the 1966 FIFA World Cup, hosts England had played all of their six games at Wembley Stadium, whether or not that gave them any home advantage, it was there that they ran out eventual 4-2 winners over West Germany in the final. Here we see the famous red shirts cut through the politely applauding group of surrounding dignitaries just after Bobby Moore has received the trophy from the Queen." Image credit: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
British footballer Sheila Parker (centre) and members of the England Women's football team training at Wembley Stadium, 1972. "The England Women’s National team pictured in their brand-new kits getting their first chance to play, or at least train, on the Wembley turf prior to their first official international with Scotland that was to take place in Greenock in Scotland later that month, they ran out 3-2 winners. The ban on Women playing football on any FA affiliated grounds which had been in place for over 50 years was lifted the year before this. Fast forward 50 years..." Image credit: Ronald Dumont/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
A huge stage with the Live Aid logo on the sides
Live Aid, 13 July 1985. "A general view of the stage at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium. The concert in aid of famine relief in Africa proved to be an unrivalled global event raising over $127 million. Impressively pulled together over the first part of 1985 by Bob Geldof and others, 22 artists played the London leg to an attendance of 72,000 but that number was only part of the story. Notwithstanding the near 90,000 who watched the Philadelphia leg, there was a global TV audience of 1.5 billion, almost 40% of the world’s population at the time." Image credit: Mike Cameron/Redferns
New Zealand doing the Haka in front of Argentina
New Zealand Vs Argentina - Group C: Rugby World Cup, 2015. "Unlike its League counterpart, which has had a continuous presence at the stadium since 1929, Rugby Union didn't feature at Wembley Stadium until 2008 when it debuted with a match between Barbarians and the touring Australian team. The venue set world attendance records for club rugby when used by London's Saracens between 2009 and 2017 and it was a venue during the 2015 World Cup when it hosted two pool matches that broke attendance records for World Cup Rugby. Pictured here is the New Zealand All Blacks traditional Haka prior to their game versus Argentina that year." Image credit: Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Adele pictured arriving in a black cab
Adele Performs At Wembley Stadium, 2017. "Adele pictured in a black cab arriving for her record breaking Wembley Stadium concert which was part of her 'Adele Live 2017' tour. The attendance of 98,000 fans is a record for a live music event in the UK." Image credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for September Management