Wembley Stadium





Wembley Stadium


Wembley Stadium was conceived as a huge project that needed a massive labor force. It was an undertaking that sought to celebrate the British culture, modernity and passion for soccer. With such a big workforce, a large budget was needed. Thus, its construction was filled with intense activity as the structure took shape. While the safety standards were adhered to, the design emphasized on the architectural goals as well. On completion, it had consumed a lot of material but managed to appeal to many people because of its size and style.



Soccer is a game played by two opposing teams comprising of eleven players each. It is estimated that over 250 million players based in more than 200 countries participate in this sport thereby making it the most popular. England is a country with some of the most enthusiastic soccer fans in the world. As such, its population is laden with people from diverse cultures who are fascinated with it. From its infancy, ordinary citizens especially young men could be seen kicking a spherical ball in their neighborhoods. However, the growth of the game made administrators to think about making it a professional career that could be a source of income for many individuals.

Thus, the English Premier League was set up and a specified number of teams were lined up to compete against each other. It became necessary for pitches to be identified for this special purpose in order to draw spectators. Initially, the crowds used to gather around the field and cheer their teams. With the advent of industrialization and the need to house this spectacle, stadiums were considered solutions to this problem (Nathan 1). Consequently, different designs were formulated by various artists and construction began in several locations of the country. Wembley Stadium had Maxwell Ayrton and Sir John Simpson as the architects while sir Owen Williams was the head engineer. Sir Robert McAlpine was the person who built it and its original name was Empire Stadium. King George V cut its first turf and the first non-sporting event to be held in it was the British Empire Exhibition. Similarly, construction took 300 days. Afterwards, it was reported that its creation had cost € 750,000.



The opening of Wembley Stadium to the public occurred on 28 April 1923 and it had a sitting capacity of 127,000. Furthermore, it had been constructed on the site of the White Tower folly in Wembley, London. At that time, a majority of the citizens spoke English although there were different linguistic traditions present. Similarly, literature was a large part of the society hence numerous writers and poets had emerged. Their contribution to society is present to date since the books and performances they made were captured in both print and electronic media. As such, it was an era of expressionism. People explored their talents and displayed their passions and soccer was no exception. The theater scene was also alive because people had become accustomed to entertainment. The creation of Wembley can be attributed to this desire and its completion marked the beginning of exhibitionism in soccer. Musically, artistes produced songs in praise of the country thereby capturing the patriotic mood of the nation that has become a common feature of the events held in this stadium.

Moreover, cinematic releases were commonly scripted to depict the dominance of the British and the intensive undertaking to build Wembley was a testament to that. Similarly, the art culture was strong as well as the architectural features of most buildings around the United Kingdom. This creativity was demonstrated in the vetting exercise carried out to pick an architect for this project because it had been envisioned to be an arena meant for posterity. Great visual art performances were common, as the populace had become sophisticated while there was a rising interest in science and technology. In particular, the construction of this facility sought to employ the most technologically advanced engineering concepts available. Furthermore, the practice of Christianity helped in maintaining the faith that Wembley Stadium could be a reality. Whereas the political class and the royals supported this development, the surge in educational levels and sporting ambitions of the British ensured that this creation had the support of members of the public. Hence, Britain wanted to reassert itself by building a structure that would be a source of prestige.



40,000 tonnes of ballast

1,400 tonnes of steel

7,500 tonnes of cement


Concrete was the material used for the construction of Wembley Stadium. This was chosen because it was easy to use thereby making the exercise faster (Nathan 1). In addition, it was meant to be a demonstration of the modernization of British engineering. Steel was also incorporated especially in the making of beams to provide support to it. Most of these were locally sourced to promote British businesses that sought to convince consumers to buy local products.


Concrete mixers



Over one million rivets

These tools had been locally assembled and most of them were delivered to the site by heavy trucks. They were well packaged for identification purposes and some of them had stickers containing vital directions about their use. Likewise, some had been insured due to their expensive price tag and delicate parts. A recording of the equipment was done to act as a daily checklist for theft and vandalism cases. It would also be helpful in determining the resources that this mission cost.

Labor Force

Several hundred workers were hired to carry out manual duties such as brick laying and lifting of construction material around the site. In addition, there were sets of skilled employees. For example, engineers were present to supervise the building of the structure to ensure that it met the required safety standards. Furthermore, the architect was on hand to direct the laborers on the best interpretation of his blueprint to achieve the aesthetic beauty he had envisioned. Thus, the workforce comprised of casuals and other permanent staff who were to fulfill their roles within a tight timeline owing to the event that was to be staged there later on. Heavy loads were carried by those who were muscular while the rest could be seen shuffling quickly within the area as they sort to deliver light materials. Some of them worked in shifts to ensure continuity of the process in anticipation of completing the project as per scheduled. However, they did not wear construction gear. Rather, they wore civilian attire that consisted of heavy clothing to keep warm when it was cold.


The initial phase of the project entailed removing trees that had grown in the area. This clearing had to be systematic to avoid unnecessary felling which could have had a greater negative environmental impact. In addition, the 120,000 cubic yards of soil in the area had an uneven layer. Accordingly, excavators were used to carry out this task. Due to the scale of the operation, the excavators used were considered some of the largest in the world. In particular, they were chosen because their buckets could handle large capacities thereby ploughing the roots as well. The exercise covered the folly and surrounding areas with the clay being dumped at a specific spot for reuse. Thereafter, the laying of service rails was done and delivery of cranes made on the construction site. As such, the cranes were used in the erection of materials around the site. These were operated by highly skilled engineers who knew the weight of the load thus making appropriate lifting speed considerations for safety purposes (Jackson 248). They too were assisted by ground marshallers who guided their routing choices .Similarly, the concrete mixers distributed prepared concrete up to 400 feet high from the ground in a cubic yard skip. However, for the concrete that peeled off from the shutters, the workers used a second skip. This was done to avoid wastage and achieve the architectural design. Preparation of the concrete was accomplished by semi-skilled workers who were assigned a supervisor to monitor the ratio at which they would mix the materials.

The 160 feet Insley Tower depended on stays from the ground to balance. It carried a sloping chute downwards that allowed the flow of concrete for distribution as far as 400 feet from the base. Proportion and symmetry were employed in the design of the various stadium features. For example, its overall shape was achieved through enclosing a running track thereby creating two front straights that were linked by semi-circular ends. Consequently, two twin towers that later become iconic flanked the main entrance. These were made from concrete shells that were 76 mm thick, reinforced by curved ribs attached to their bases.100 mm thick adjacent walls were placed and these were supported by piers and four turrets. Furthermore, their domes had flagpoles and a crown was placed on the top. The decoration of the front wall used hollow columns. Nevertheless, the third column in every row had a real column support. The soil scooped earlier on was used in the construction of the lower terraces that had a curved shape. Likewise, the upper ones were built from a mixture of radially placed precast and in situ concrete parts on a steel framework, which spun from the mounds of earth to the external walls. Consequently, the architecture made use of parapets, piers, arched openings and columns that were both decorative and others natural. These terraces were slightly banked that people stationed in the upper regions were somehow obstructed from seeing the games when played at specific angles. The four separate stands were lower and further from the pitch too. No railings were placed on the terraces and this increased the sitting capacity. Despite it housing many rooms, some were bigger than others. The dressing rooms were wide and contained lockers that lined the walls. They were fitted with numerous ventilation points for players to reduce exhaustion especially during breaks. Moreover, the doors to these rooms were too thick. Thus, their layers would act as sound barriers, which prevented outsiders from eavesdropping. Wooden furnishings were also placed at respective rooms while painters begun the task of marking out directions to various places within the grounds such as parking lots and lavatories.

Moreover, the small space available made the developers to make seats with smaller legroom. There were 39 steps towards the Royal box as well and that served as the route to be used during trophy presentation sessions (Nathan 1) This box was located at the center of the north stand. It was positioned just above the lower terraces and had a striking emblematic decoration that was visible from afar. It was made spacious to accommodate the dignitaries who would sit there and had its entrance as well as exit. Similarly, access to this area was restricted by limiting the proximity to adjacent rooms in order to provide a secure viewpoint for the royals. However, Wembley’s strength was tested by the hiring of around 1280 men and women. These people were divided into groups and allowed to march into the stadium. They were immediately stationed behind the Royal box. Under the command of Captain FB Ellison, they were made to sit, stand, sway and mark time in uniform. Additionally, they jumped and waved their hands from different sections. Lastly, they ran up and down the steps at various paces (Jackson 253). These military style drills became essential in gaining approval for its opening since they showed that it could withstand different structural forces regardless of the number of people or type of event. However, additional features were included such as the placement of floodlights in 1955 to cater for evening use. It had become common for late-night matches and this situation demanded a stationary source of lighting such as the one above. A large aluminum roof was erected in 1963 that was made from translucent glass as well. Simultaneously, an electric scoreboard was positioned within the grounds to make the scores visible from different parts of the structure. This made it livelier. In fact, a huge wiring exercise was conducted within the premises and it covered all the rooms as well. A central room was identified to be an administrative unit to facilitate the management of Wembley’s affairs. This was extended to nearby rooms too.

However, at that time, these improvements were thought to be minor. There were no wheelchair spaces as well and this was a disadvantage for people with disabilities. Furthermore, the number of lavatories, retail units, bars and restaurants was small because the engineers wanted people to concentrate more on the action on the pitch. Nevertheless, they were more compared to those to be found at other stadiums at that time. As such, they revolutionized the spectator experience since people had various options of maintaining their psyche while enjoying the entertainment. Whereas the lack of a roof exposed them to different weather patterns such as rain, that did not dampen their spirits. This mood was aided by the design of the arena that made people to cluster thereby raising the tone of any cheers or jeers. It resulted in a distinct roar, which echoed throughout the structure. Once the heavy activities were over, the turf was trimmed and marked according to specifications. Goal posts were planted into the ground on both sides as well.

Present Construction

Since the creation of the Wembley Stadium in the 1920’s, the society has evolved in to a modern competitive type where international standards of engineering are required to build a structure of such magnitude. Sophisticated lawn mowers will be used to clear bushes as a team of engineers use the latest computers to generate a unique design. As part of their roles, they are to come up with a blue print that mathematically maps out the beams that should absorb a certain amount of tension and allow a redistribution of weight throughout the facility. Due to the changes in weather patterns and the atmosphere of the event, examinations on the direction of the sun in relation to the pitch will have to be considered. These tests require state-of-the-art equipment in order to make accurate predictions of the location and tilt of the stadium to protect participants from its glare while permitting an unobstructed view of the performances on the pitch Culley and Pascoe 80). Similarly, the structure’s orientation will have to incorporate products that are less harmful to the environment without compromising the safety standards. For example, the interior would be lined with sound absorbent materials to minimize the level of noise pollution experienced during cheering sessions. In addition, the size of the workforce will be smaller since the developer will embrace automation.

Consequently, computer-aided devices that are electric will perform the heavy duties including lifting of materials and attaching the various blocks to each other to minimize the human risk exposure to death that search projects incur. Furthermore, this would be a testament to the improvements in technology currently in use. There would be few stairs and more elevators to be used as the mode of transport as well and these will be strategically located around the facility to ease the movement of people. Presumably, since solar power will be the chosen source of electricity, every seat will be fitted with a miniature television screen securely packaged to avoid acts of vandalism and theft. These will serve to lower the rate of confrontations that occur because of obtrusive behavior perpetrated by front row spectators when they take bathroom and refreshment breaks. Installations will have to be made for internet systems such as Wi-Fi to allow people to be connected online where they can offer real-time accounts of the matches or shows on display too. Once the ground has been carpeted, the turf used will be artificial since this creates an even surface, which does not place an undue advantage for one team. The ball’s motion on the ground will also be controlled in a manner that avoids controversies resulting from the use of natural grass. The ticketing stands outside the stadium have to be digital to increase efficiency and accountability that is necessary in enhancing transparency within the stadium management too.

In addition, the facility will include modern catering stalls in which refreshments and snacks will be offered from a vantage position to watch the happenings on the pitch. The inner walls of these restaurants will be fitted with transparent glass to achieve this purpose. As such, access to these areas will be facilitated by the installation of escalators whose energy will be sourced from solar power. Tracks will also be placed on the stadium’s ceiling to mount a retractable roof that would ensure the continuity of any indoor activity regardless of the weather (Jackson 250). Consequently, the roof would be closed during harsh, rainy season and opened to allow sunshine while improving aeration levels. Therefore, the beams to support this feature have to be made from strong metals that can withstand the enormous weight without putting a strain on other structural parts. Similarly, giant screens will be hoisted at both ends of the field to aid the visibility of the performances. A large section of the central upper floor will be designated for the media and fitted with the latest communication equipment (Culley and Pascoe 64). In particular, transmission lines will be connected to the whole structure and centralized in this room. This will act as the center for relaying the feats on different channels to home viewers. Ports will be made available for anchoring heavy cameras used for taking close up photographs of the action as well. Moreover, an overhead camera will be fixed that covers the entire breadth of the pitch to take shots at various angles thereby providing viewers with panoramic views.

Furthermore, the structure’s interior floors would be made from highly polished tiles that offer a glossy look while causing enough friction to prevent people from falling. This is in line with the image and safety regimen required for such facilities especially when emergencies arise. Iron would be used to reinforce the barriers too as a way of restricting access to different parts of the stadium. By so doing, the force exerted on the building is uniform and this redistribution of weight reduces the amount of strain on a single part of it. The arrangement of the steel structure used to create a mold for the concrete will be hexagonal as that offers the best weight to strength ratio.


Stadiums have become theaters where different performances are held. Various events are organized in these settings and the size of the attendees depends on the magnitude of the facility. Thus, a lot of planning has to be done and the amount of capital needed should be consumerate to the scope of the project. In most instances, the design of a stadium factors in various cultural aspects of the community and nation. In the build up to the construction of the Wembley Stadium, the British public had clamored for a structure that epitomized their supremacy in the world. During that era, there was evidence of a cultural renaissance in which professionals in various scientific fields such as engineering had become creative. Therefore, the architects of this facility drafted a building that celebrated their love for soccer in an artful way. Consequently, since it was an ambitious undertaking, a large workforce was involved to hasten its completion. In addition, tonnes of materials were used to create concrete, which had to be lifted by skips as the complex took shape. To maximize on the available space, the terraces were a bit small thereby sitting 127,000 people, a record at that time (Nathan 1).

Moreover, the concept of having white Twin Towers at the entrance became iconic for many years. Due to an advancement of technology, the subsequent modifications made thereafter was a reflection of the influence that the industrial revolution had on the society. Once the construction was complete, Wembley Stadium became the fixture for many local and foreign sporting events that made Britons to be proud of this monument. However, it was closed in 2000 and built a new at the beginning of 2003 after a lengthy delay. There was division on the necessity of either demolishing or renovating it. While supporters of demolition cited the hazardous, derelict condition present, opponents pleaded for the restoration of the iconic facility due to the historical events that have been held there. This debate did not extend further work begun in 2003. In 2007, the New Wembley was opened to the public and it features a new design with a unique arch above its roof.










Works Cited:

Culley, Peter, and John Pascoe. Sports Facilities and Technologies. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.

Jackson, Ashley. Buildings of Empire. Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.

Nathan, Stuart. April 1923: Wembley Stadium. Engineer, 3 April 2013. Web. 28 July 2014.

















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