Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Chelsea FC: The Stamford Bridge Story In Photos

By on 26 March 2014 | comments 0

CHELSEA have played at Stamford Bridge ever since 1905, the year after  “Mr H A (Gus) Mears and his brother, Mr J T Mears, obtained the deeds, having previously acquired additional land (formerly a large market garden) with the aim of establishing a football team there on the now 12.5 acre site”.

 

Chelsea director HA 'Gus' Mears Date: 01/08/1905

Chelsea director HA ‘Gus’ Mears
Date: 01/08/1905

 

Right, you’re in goal. ‘Fatty’.

 

Chelsea team group in the goal at Stamford Bridge. Left to right; James Watson, Bobby McRoberts, George Key, Jimmy Windridge, Mackie, goalkeeper William "Fatty" Foulke (Captain), David Copeland, Jack Robertson, Bob McEwan, Martin Moran and Jack Kirwan. Date: 01/08/1905

Chelsea team group in the goal at Stamford Bridge. Left to right; James Watson, Bobby McRoberts, George Key, Jimmy Windridge, Mackie, goalkeeper William “Fatty” Foulke (Captain), David Copeland, Jack Robertson, Bob McEwan, Martin Moran and Jack Kirwan.
Date: 01/08/1905

 

 

 

Soccer - Football League Division Two - Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion General view of Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea, during the match Date: 23/09/1905

Football League Division Two – Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion
General view of Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea, during the match
Date: 23/09/1905

 

Before the football club moved in, The Bridge had ever since its birth on April 28 1877 been the home of the London Athletic Club.

The Bridge continued to stage athletics events for years.

 

John Rinkel of Britain passes the baton to teammate Roger Leigh-Wood while American Taylor passes the baton to Raymond Barbuti during a meet between the U.S. and British Olympic relay teams at Stamford Bridge, England August 20, 1928. The U.S. team won the relay, setting the one-mile mark of 3 minutes, 13 2/5 seconds.

John Rinkel of Britain passes the baton to teammate Roger Leigh-Wood while American Taylor passes the baton to Raymond Barbuti during a meet between the U.S. and British Olympic relay teams at Stamford Bridge, England August 20, 1928. The U.S. team won the relay, setting the one-mile mark of 3 minutes, 13 2/5 seconds.

 

Archibald Leitch’s ground has one stand, a 120 yard long stand on the East side which could hold 5000 spectators. The rest was open. After the 100,000 capacity Crystal Palace ground, it was the second largest stadium in London.

Soccer - FA Charity Shield Replay - Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers - Stamford Bridge Manchester United on the attack NULL Date: 29/08/1908

FA Charity Shield Replay – Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers – Stamford Bridge
Manchester United on the attack. Date: 29/08/1908

 

Initially the stadium was offered to Fulham FC to play there, they turned down the chance and so instead a new side, Chelsea Football Club, was born in 1905 and moved into the new Stamford Bridge stadium.

The Brigde became an international venue.

 

 

Soccer - Home International Championship - England v Scotland - Stamford Bridge A general view of the huge crowd at Stamford Bridge for the England v Scotland Home International match. England won 1-0, with Harry Hampton the scorer. Ref #: PA.2935171  Date: 05/04/1913

Home International Championship – England v Scotland – Stamford Bridge
A general view of the huge crowd at Stamford Bridge for the England v Scotland Home International match. England won 1-0, with Harry Hampton the scorer. Date: 05/04/1913

 

Many foreign champions competed in the British Games at Stamford Bridge, London, when a great triangular match was staged between the famous Achilles Club of London; the Berliner and Deutscher Sports Club of Germany; and the Stade Francais of France

Many foreign champions competed in the British Games at Stamford Bridge, London, when a great triangular match was staged between the famous Achilles Club of London; the Berliner and Deutscher Sports Club of Germany; and the Stade Francais of France

 

It was good backdrop for the toffs.

 

British Royal Family - Prince Albert - 1920 Prince Albert attends the Civil Service Annual Athletic Sports at Stamford Bridge. The Prince poses for his photograph on the athletics field at Stamford Bridge. archive-paL1315 Date: 19/06/1920

British Royal Family – Prince Albert – 1920
Prince Albert attends the Civil Service Annual Athletic Sports at Stamford Bridge. The Prince poses for his photograph on the athletics field at Stamford Bridge. Date: 19/06/1920

 

 

It was fun for all the family.

 

Soccer - League Division One - Chelsea v Newcastle United - Stamford Bridge A young girl presents singer Gracie Fields with a bouquet of flowers at Stamford Bridge before the start of the match. Ref #: PA.9529710  Date: 24/09/1932

League Division One – Chelsea v Newcastle United – Stamford Bridge
A young girl presents singer Gracie Fields with a bouquet of flowers at Stamford Bridge before the start of the match.Date: 24/09/1932

 

Soccer - Football League Division One - Chelsea v Arsenal A section of the huge 82,000 crowd at Stamford Bridge Ref #: PA.638757  Date: 12/10/1935

Soccer – Football League Division One – Chelsea v Arsenal
A section of the huge 82,000 crowd at Stamford Bridge
Date: 12/10/1935

 

The way in.

 

stamford-bridge-stadium-1940s

 

After the war, there was hunger for football.

 

The start of the Football season. League football started for the first time in seven years, and it attracted large crowds. Here spectators are gathered outside Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground where Bolton Wanderers are the visitors in the First Division.  Ref #: PA.1991435

The start of the Football season in 1946. League football started for the first time in seven years, and it attracted large crowds. Here spectators are gathered outside Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground where Bolton Wanderers are the visitors in the First Division. 

 

PA. 2814930 Soccer - Football League Division One - Chelsea v Arsenal - Stamford Bridge A young fan is passed over the heads of the crowd to a better viewing position at the front of the terrace Date: 01/11/1947

Soccer – Football League Division One – Chelsea v Arsenal – Stamford Bridge
A young fan is passed over the heads of the crowd to a better viewing position at the front of the terrace
Date: 01/11/1947

 

Inside the tactics room.

 

Soccer - Football League Division One - Chelsea Training - Stamford Bridge Chelsea manager Billy Birrell gives a tactical talk to some of his players Date: 03/01/1950

Chelsea manager Billy Birrell gives a tactical talk to some of his players
Date: 03/01/1950

 

Members of the Chelsea team stretch while holding a 125lbs tree log during training. 100-Archive-g1097-6 Ref #: PA.10651138  Date: 11/08/1953

Members of the Chelsea team stretch while holding a 125lbs tree log during training.
Date: 11/08/1953

 

 

Players practice heading the ball Date: 29/07/1955

Players practice heading the ball
Date: 29/07/1955

 

 

That hunger waned.

 

Charlton Athletic V Chelsea - Stamford Bridge Part of the 'crowd' watching the match at Stamford Bridge. Ref #: PA.9354118  Date: 22/02/1956

Charlton Athletic V Chelsea – Stamford Bridge
Part of the ‘crowd’ watching the match at Stamford Bridge. Date: 22/02/1956

 

But The Bridge remained a venue of choice for England.

 

Soccer - International Friendly - England v Spain - England Practice Session - Bridge Tom Finney, left, with Nat Lofthouse at Stamford Bridge during an England training session. Date: 28/11/1955

Soccer – International Friendly – England v Spain – England Practice Session – Bridge
Tom Finney, left, with Nat Lofthouse at Stamford Bridge during an England training session.
Date: 28/11/1955

 

 

 

Soccer - Home International Championship - England v Scotland - England Practice - Stamford Bridge England, who will be playing before a crowd of 100,000 people, had just three small boys watching them train. Ref #: PA.10815114  Date: 07/04/1959

Soccer – Home International Championship – England v Scotland – England Practice – Stamford Bridge
England, who will be playing before a crowd of 100,000 people, had just three small boys watching them train.Date: 07/04/1959

 

Try and get on the pitch today. Dare you.

 

Soccer - Football League Division One - Chelsea v Nottingham Forest - Stamford Bridge Chelsea's Jimmy Greaves is chaired off the pitch by fans after scoring four goals on his last appearance for the club Ref #: PA.2465154  Date: 29/04/1961

Soccer – Football League Division One – Chelsea v Nottingham Forest – Stamford Bridge
Chelsea’s Jimmy Greaves is chaired off the pitch by fans after scoring four goals on his last appearance for the club
Date: 29/04/1961

 

When you were stood on the huge earth bank, when it rained, you got wet.

 

 

Soccer - League Division One - Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Stamford Bridge A section of the Chelsea crowd Tottenham won 3-0 Ref #: PA.11069145  Date: 21/09/1963

Soccer – League Division One – Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur – Stamford Bridge. A section of the Chelsea crowd
Tottenham won 3-0Date: 21/09/1963

 

 

Soccer - Friendly - England v Belgium - England Training - Stamford Bridge England's Terry Venables practises his splits in preparation for the game against Belgium. Date: 19/10/1964

Soccer – Friendly – England v Belgium – England Training – Stamford Bridge
England’s Terry Venables practises his splits in preparation for the game against Belgium.
Date: 19/10/1964

 

Jack (left) and Bobby Charlton (right), England, take a break in training at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea.  Soccer - England Players%0D%0AJack (left) and Bobby %0D%0ACharlton (right), %0D%0AEngland Ref #: PA.260973  Date: 08/04/1965

Jack (left) and Bobby Charlton (right), England, take a break in training at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea.
Soccer – England Players Jack (left) and Bobby Charlton
Date: 08/04/1965

 

 

That track kept the action at a distance.

 

PA. 404786 Soccer - Football League Division One - Chelsea (L-R) New Chelsea manager Dave Sexton stands on the Stamford Bridge terraces with Chairman Charles Pratt NULL Date: 23/10/1967

Soccer – Football League Division One – Chelsea
(L-R) New Chelsea manager Dave Sexton stands on the Stamford Bridge terraces with Chairman Charles Pratt
Date: 23/10/1967

 

 

Good pitch?

Soccer - FA Cup - Sixth Round - Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion - Stamford Bridge Alan Birchenall, Chelsea Ref #: PA.2305042  Date: 01/03/1969

Soccer – FA Cup – Sixth Round – Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion – Stamford Bridge
Alan Birchenall, Chelsea
Date: 01/03/1969

 

 

Plans were afoot. The ground was no longer fit for purpose.

 

(L-R) Roger Bannister, Chelsea chairman Brian Mears, Chelsea manager Dave Sexton and architect John Darbourne examine a model of the proposed new developments at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge home, whilst demolition of the old stands continues in the background Ref #: PA.2935316  Date: 05/06/1972

(L-R) Roger Bannister, Chelsea chairman Brian Mears, Chelsea manager Dave Sexton and architect John Darbourne examine a model of the proposed new developments at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge home, whilst demolition of the old stands continues in the background
Date: 05/06/1972

 

It would be magnificent.

An architect's model of the proposed development of Stamford Bridge Ref #: PA.2946602  Date: 04/06/1972

An architect’s model of the proposed development of Stamford Bridge
Date: 04/06/1972

 

Were the changing rooms that bad?

 

Soccer - League Cup - Semi Final - 1st Leg - Chelsea v Norwich City - Stamford Bridge Chelsea manager Dave Sexton gives his players a half-time pep talk on the pitch sidelines, with team captain Eddie McCreadie, extreme right, listening intently. Despite their endeavors, Chelsea lost 2-0 to Norwich City in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final. Date: 13/12/1972

Soccer – League Cup – Semi Final – 1st Leg – Chelsea v Norwich City – Stamford Bridge
Chelsea manager Dave Sexton gives his players a half-time pep talk on the pitch sidelines, with team captain Eddie McCreadie, extreme right, listening intently. Despite their endeavors, Chelsea lost 2-0 to Norwich City in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final.
Date: 13/12/1972

 

Good facilities?

 

Soccer - Football League Division One - Chelsea v Leeds United - Stamford Bridge (L-R) Chelsea's Eddie McCreadie, Peter Bonetti, Peter Osgood, Charlie Cooke and Alan Hudson walk out for the opening match of the season Ref #: PA.2967017  Date: 12/08/1972

Soccer – Football League Division One – Chelsea v Leeds United – Stamford Bridge
(L-R) Chelsea’s Eddie McCreadie, Peter Bonetti, Peter Osgood, Charlie Cooke and Alan Hudson walk out for the opening match of the season Date: 12/08/1972

 

 

Building began.

 

Chelsea's new East Stand begins to take shape Ref #: PA.2935261  Date: 14/08/1973

Chelsea’s new East Stand begins to take shape
Date: 14/08/1973

 

 

Behold!

Soccer - Football League Division One - Chelsea v Carlisle United - Stamford Bridge General view of the East Stand at Stamford Bridge Ref #: PA.2469611  Date: 17/08/1974

Soccer – Football League Division One – Chelsea v Carlisle United – Stamford Bridge
General view of the East Stand at Stamford Bridge. Date: 17/08/1974

 

And yet the other sides were open to the elements – some challenging ones.

 

Manager of Crystal Palace Football Club Malcolm Allison wearing a hat, indicates his team's three goals to the fans at Stamford Bridge, London on Feb 15, 1976. Palace beat Chelsea 3-2 in the FA Cup match. (AP Photo/Peter Kemp) Ref #: PA.9639056  Date: 15/02/1976

Manager of Crystal Palace Football Club Malcolm Allison wearing a hat, indicates his team’s three goals to the fans at Stamford Bridge, London on Feb 15, 1976. Palace beat Chelsea 3-2 in the FA Cup match. (AP Photo/Peter Kemp) Date: 15/02/1976

 

The Shed end remained in situ.

 

Chelsea's £3m East Stand sits somewhat incongruously next to The Shed Ref #: PA.2469638  Date: 01/08/1976

Chelsea’s £3m East Stand sits somewhat incongruously next to The Shed
Date: 01/08/1976

 

Before Henry and the banking crowd moved in, it was rough in there.

 

Fighting spectators befor the start of Chelsea's League Division Two promotion battle against Millwall at Stamford Bridge. Ref #: PA.2012128  Date: 12/02/1977

Fighting spectators before the start of Chelsea’s League Division Two promotion battle against Millwall at Stamford Bridge.
Date: 12/02/1977

 

The place was a mess.

 
PA-144540

 

eneral view of Stamford Bridge, home to Chelsea German Soccer - %0D%0AKevin Keegan with %0D%0Awife Jean and baby %0D%0ALaura-Jane, in their %0D%0Afamily car Ref #: PA.144608  Date: 01/02/1978

General view of Stamford Bridge, home to Chelsea
Date: 01/02/1978

 

 

There was fisticuffs.

 

Rioting Tottenham Hotspur fans tear down a section of iron railings in a bid to reach the Chelsea supporters before a Division One game at London's Stamford Bridge ground. archive-pa186658-1   Date: 18/11/1978

Rioting Tottenham Hotspur fans tear down a section of iron railings in a bid to reach the Chelsea supporters before a Division One game at London’s Stamford Bridge ground.
Date: 18/11/1978

 

Anything was better than the football.

Cricket - Essex v West Indies - Day-Night Floodlit Match - Stamford Bridge Desmond Haynes (l) and Gordon Greenidge (r) of the West Indies walk out to the crease. The floodlit cricket match at Chelsea Football Club's ground, Stamford Bridge, was the first in England, as pioneered by the Packer Circus in Australia. The batsmen wear dark pads and gloves and the bowlers use a white ball. Archive-PA193552-1c Ref #: PA.4836613

Cricket – Essex v West Indies – Day-Night Floodlit Match – Stamford Bridge
Desmond Haynes (l) and Gordon Greenidge (r) of the West Indies walk out to the crease. The floodlit cricket match at Chelsea Football Club’s ground, Stamford Bridge, was the first in England, as pioneered by the Packer Circus in Australia. The batsmen wear dark pads and gloves and the bowlers use a white ball.
Ref #: PA.4836613

 

The fans were caged.

 

Soccer - Barclay's League Division One - Promotion/Relegation Play Offs - Final Second Leg - Chelsea v Middlesbrough - Stamford Bridge Chelsea fans hurl abuse at police officers after seeing their side relegated to Division Two Ref #: PA.2939705  Date: 28/05/1988

Soccer – Barclay’s League Division One – Promotion/Relegation Play Offs – Final Second Leg – Chelsea v Middlesbrough – Stamford Bridge Chelsea fans hurl abuse at police officers after seeing their side relegated to Division Two. Date: 28/05/1988

 

It got better. It had to.

 

Chelsea chairman, Ken Bates, indicating the controversial anti-hooligan 12-volt electric wire on top of the 12ft high fence screening spectators from the pitch at Stamford Bridge football ground when it went on public show for the first time. NULL Ref #: PA.1896191  Date: 24/04/1985

Chelsea chairman, Ken Bates, indicating the controversial anti-hooligan 12-volt electric wire on top of the 12ft high fence screening spectators from the pitch at Stamford Bridge football ground when it went on public show for the first time.
Date: 24/04/1985

 

In 1997, the once fearsome Shed looked like any other number of stands. It was now all seater.

 

PA-255139

 

 

Money was spent on making a ‘Village’.

 

The Chelsea Village Hotel, part of the Chelsea Village Complex at Stamford Bridge UEFA Champions League - Group B - Juventus v Galatasaray%0D%0AZinedine Zidane, %0D%0AJuventus Ref #: PA.288881  Date: 17/09/1998

The Chelsea Village Hotel, part of the Chelsea Village Complex at Stamford Bridge.Date: 17/09/1998

 

 

PA-338671

 

And then it went family friendly again.

 

 

Valentine's Day came early for a Chelsea-mad football fan whose girlfriend marked his first ever visit to Stamford Bridge by proposing to him in front of 30,000 fans. Amanda Kirk, 22, popped the question on the club's giant scoreboard. * 30-year-old Michael Evans said Yes as soon as he had got over the shock. For design engineer Mr Evans it was a triply special day. It was his first ever match at the home of the Blues, despite being a lifelong fan.Then came Amanda's half time proposal. And to top it all, his beloved team ran out 3-1 winners over London rivals Wimbledon. Mr Evans and Miss Kirk travelled to London with his daughter Leanne from their parents' homes in South Wales.

Valentine’s Day came early for a Chelsea-mad football fan whose girlfriend marked his first ever visit to Stamford Bridge by proposing to him in front of 30,000 fans. Amanda Kirk, 22, popped the question on the club’s giant scoreboard. * 30-year-old Michael Evans said Yes as soon as he had got over the shock. For design engineer Mr Evans it was a triply special day. It was his first ever match at the home of the Blues, despite being a lifelong fan.Then came Amanda’s half time proposal. And to top it all, his beloved team ran out 3-1 winners over London rivals Wimbledon. Mr Evans and Miss Kirk travelled to London with his daughter Leanne from their parents’ homes in South Wales.

 

And then the really big money arrived.

PA-11942169 PA-4497767 PA-10512004