Arsenal History: The story of our Highbury Stadium – The Home Of Football

Highbury- the long lost but still standing home of Arsenal

In 1913 Arsenal packed their bags from Woolwich for North London to go and play at the newly built Highbury Stadium which would become their grand emporium for the next 93 years.

Highbury was designed by one of the greatest architects of his time Archibald Leitch, who to this day is renowned for building some of the finest and most respected sports venues to date.  This includes the likes of Fulham’s Craven Cottage, Tottenham’s old White Hart Lane, Liverpool’s Anfield, Everton’s Goodison Park, Manchester United’s Old Trafford, Sheffield Wednesdays Hillsborough, Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, Rangers Ibrox, Scotland’s Hampden Park and even the home of English rugby Twickenham.

The later mimicked “Home of Football” was constructed on part of land owned by St.John’s  College of Divinity in a lease worth £20,000, which wouldn’t even cover the cost of the average Premier League footballers weekly wage. The Gunners wouldn’t own their venue till 1925 when a deal was struck for £64,000, at last!

Highbury was originally made to host 90,000 fans but the closest the Gunners came to that high reaching figure was in early March 1935 when just over 73,000 people ringed the terraces of the ground. The main attendance was estimated to be 60,000 for many decades before the stadium became completely seated in the 1990s.

Highbury in 1966

In the 1930s three of Leitche’s masterpiece stands were pulled down to pave way for an even greater creation of art. The £45,000 West Stand was reformed in 1932. Four years later the £130,000 East Stand was erected becoming the most famous of all, depicting the red and black gun emblem which presents itself on the top of the front red and white deco stand which you can see today, highlighting the main entrance of Highbury. Roofing was then erected over the North Bank standing area where at the opposite end of the stadium a clock was set up, hence leading to the naming of the Clock End. This ignited the chants from either ends of the terraces which are still sung to this day at the Emirates “We’re the North Bank of Highbury” and “We’re the Clock End of Highbury” thrown about at one another.

After the Taylor report was released in 1990 following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 Highbury transformed into a fully seated stadium, reducing the overall capacity significantly. The report pushed the North Londoners to annihilate the final Leitch stand to make way for the newly £20 million re-modelled North Bank which took the full 1992/93 season to create. In 1999 The board made up their minds that they would pay for a brand new spanking stadium which would be built from 2004-2006 a couple of roads away on a now former waste site which would hold 60,000 spectators, more than the cut down 38,419 possible at Highbury.

The 2005/06 season proved to be Arsenals final hoorah at Highbury when the foundations were laid around the corner for the all new Emirates Stadium costing almost £400 million, where they have played ever since.

After the move Highbury was transformed into 650 flats where it now occupies the name of Highbury Square where on the once revered playing pitch lays a mini garden for residents.

Liam Harding


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  1. I had to look this up, but, the famous East & West stands were designed by: Waterlow Ferrier & William Binnie.
    I’d love one of those apartments.

  2. The story of the famous clock is very interesting in itself as it was originally positioned in the North Bank, the Laundry End, as it was known at the time. It was later moved to what was known as the College End, which became the clock end.
    I’ll try to put together an article on this subject in the near future.

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